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  • Parthenocarp by dutch artist Ronald van der Meijs is a large-scale sound art installation whose sound is affected by the growth of growing cucumber plants. The work consists of three sound cabinets, each with its own steel string suspended over a small black wheel sunken into the top face. These cables are connected at one end to an electric drill and at the other to a metal cage housing a living cucumber plant; a mechanical teflon 'finger' against the string changes position depending on the length of the vegetables as they grow. Thus each cabinet, functioning something like a mechanical hurdy-gurdy, plays a tone that mutates slightly over the course of the exhibition, relative to the cucumbers' growth. The installation is representative of the transformation of the urban zone of Overstad in Alkmaar, Netherlands, which has shifted from a farming region to an industrial area to now a modern downtown center, 'a slow urban transformation process', van der meijs reflects, 'not only associated with changes in the built environment but also include the surrounded noise, the skepticism and opposition from residents and political opposition parties.' Likewise, the 'combined sound of the Parthenocarp system transforms very slowly during the exhibition, and is subject to a variety of harmony and discord.'

    The title comes from the modern greenhouse cucumber cultivation, which is processed so thorough that no male flowers remain. Only female flowers create beautiful glossy fruits without spines or irritating hairs. The cucumber grows without any form of pollination and fertilization is required, this phenomenon is called parthenocarp. In contrast to the operation of the installation 'Parthenocarp', here humans are in control of the existence of the cucumber plants.

    materials: okoume plywood, steel cable, metal, ebony, maple, electric drills, UV lights, drip irrigation systems, hybrid cucumber plants.
    size: sound cabinets: 4,5 x 0,65 x 0,5 m. total size: 4 x 5 x 3 m.


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