Parthenocarp by dutch artist Ronald van der Meijs is alarge-scale sound art installation whose sound is affected by the growth ofgrowing cucumber plants. The work consists of three sound cabinets, each withits own steel string suspended over a small black wheel sunken into the topface. These cables are connected at one end to an electric drill and at theother to a metal cage housing a living cucumber plant; a mechanical teflon'finger' against the string changes position depending on the length of thevegetables as they grow. Thus each cabinet, functioning something like amechanical hurdy-gurdy, plays a tone that mutates slightly over the course ofthe exhibition, relative to the cucumbers' growth. The installation isrepresentative of the transformation of the urban zone of Overstad in Alkmaar,Netherlands, which has shifted from a farming region to an industrial area tonow a modern downtown center, 'a slow urban transformation process', van dermeijs reflects, 'not only associated with changes in the built environment butalso include the surrounded noise, the skepticism and opposition from residentsand political opposition parties.' Likewise, the 'combined sound of theParthenocarp system transforms very slowly during the exhibition, and issubject to a variety of harmony and discord.'
The title comes from the modern greenhouse cucumbercultivation, which is processed so thorough that no male flowers remain. Onlyfemale flowers create beautiful glossy fruits without spines or irritatinghairs. The cucumber grows without any form of pollination and fertilization isrequired, this phenomenon is called parthenocarp. In contrast to the operationof the installation 'Parthenocarp', here humans are in control of the existenceof 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 5x 3 m.