Junior Return is a set of glass capsules that provide a miniature, computer controlled hydroponic environment; the plants’ roots are submerged in nutrient-infused water, while LED lights supply the illumination required. These pods are tethered by electrical wire to a battery pack that supplies the energy for all of the plan's requirements. A digital timer counts the seconds that remain until a small pump is activated, briefly moving air to the plant and the water that bathes its roots. Then, with little notice, a few bubbles appear in the water, the only resolve of the anticipation.
The system keeps its enclosed plant in a dwarf state by supplying only enough resources to survive but not thrive. I kept a broccoli seedling alive for almost three years using this technique, and wanted to formalize this behavior in a device. The plant in this container could flourish in the most meager of environments, but would also be invisible to us in significance and aesthetic consideration.Read an interview with artist Philip Ross. (Originally published in Rhizome News.)