January 3, 2022
This week we recognize the work of artists Wendy DesChene and Jeff Schmuki, aka PlantBot Genetics.
DesChene and Schmuki operate under the guise of PlantBot Genetics Inc., a parody of Big Agricultural Firms who skillfully manipulate current food production and distribution systems.
"PlantBot Genetics combines tactical media and public space to promote critical thinking and political action on environmental issues. By imitating actual corporate practice, we underscore the potential consequences of the global corporatization of agriculture, the natural environment, and public space. Our products underscore the lack of transparency and corporate ‘grafting’ of food production and distribution by releasing humorous next-generation, robot-plant hybrids to prompt critical discussion on the environmental costs of intensive agricultural practices.”
"If there were one word to explain what PlantBot Genetics is about, it would have to be PlantBots. Billions of people depend on what farmers do and in the future farmers will have to grow more food than they have in the past 10,000 years. We work alongside farmers to meet the demands of the future in sowing the seeds developed through synthetic biotechnology and automated chemical protection."
“PlantBots are better suited to the 21st century. Our ability to manufacture PlantBots that can adapt and mutate to a wide range of climates will ensure unsurpassed yields. PlantBot Genetics inserts valid traits and materials from specific flora and fauna found in each locale. Several species designed by PlantBot Genetics have self-sown and contaminated the surrounding quadrants outside our lab. These rogue PlantBots may prove useful and have been captured in the following footage.”
Wendy DesChene (Canada) and Jeff Schmuki (USA), collaborative team and married partners, began practicing asPlantBot Genetics in 2008. Each had extensive experience and awards as solo artists and both were raised with strong connections to the land around them. PlantBot Genetics create installations, interventions, and collaborations that combine activism, research, and social space in order to foster discussion and generate action in the area of ecological awareness. By linking environmental issues to a diverse array of creative operations and tactics, DesChene + Schmuki extend the “knowledge of the moment”, demonstrates the fragile connection between the natural world and personal action, and offers simple, positive changes that can be enacted to increase sustainability -- an activity that can be replicated long after the artists have moved on. monsantra.com
Featured Images: ©PlantBot Genetics, Monsantra, Dinosauria,Floridada, and Spores, 2008-ongoing