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.