Junior Return (2005) - Philip Ross

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.


Note: Read an interview with artist Philip Ross. (Originally published in Rhizome News.)