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The Glass Veil: Seven Adventures in Wonderland


Suzanne Anker and Sabine Flach

In this collaborative work between artist and theorist Suzanne Anker and art historian Sabine Flach, the study of image production unveils the reality of pictures beyond their function as mere representations of the world. The visuals range from firsthand accounts of specimen collections in historical medical museums, to scientific research laboratories, to studies of plant propagation, among other themes concerning life forms and Bio Art. Focusing on systems of artistic knowledge, the authors demonstrate how context, scale and framing devices alter meaning in pictorial systems. Somatic responses, classification networks and image banks are explored as they relate to intersections in visual art and the biological sciences.
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Dialogue VI: Astroculture (Shelf Life): Suzanne Anker & Sabine Flach


Figure 67. Suzanne Anker, Astroculture (Shelf Life), 2009. Galvanized steel cubes, plastic, red and blue LED lights, vegetable-producing plants grown from seeds, water, soil and no pesticides. 42 x 14 x 14 in (106.65 x 35.65 x 35.65 cm) each set. Installation view of Corpus Extremus (LIFE+) at Exit Art, New York City, 2009. ← 152 | 153 → ← 153 | 154 → ← 154 | 155 →


Sabine Flach: Astroculture (Shelf Life) (figs. 67-71) is an artwork consisting of photographs, living plants, metal cubes and LED lights. What is the genesis of this piece?

Suzanne Anker: This sculpture is an indoor vegetable and herb garden, created for the exhibition Corpus Extremus (Life+), curated by Boryana Rossa as part of Exit Art’s Curatorial Program in 2009. It is similar to both a terrarium and a Wunderkammer but also relates to NASA’s ongoing Space program. With the rise of biotechnologies and tinkering of living systems, can we imagine what vast resources are still available in outer space and deep sea habitats? How do plants respond to changes in gravity? What happens to seeds, for example, when they are grown in space? NASA’s Space Product Development Program is exploring these possibilities. The first growth facility installed in 2001 at the International Space Station was aptly named Advanced AstrocultureTM.1

In my work Astroculture (Shelf Life), three plant chambers were constructed from off-the-shelf components. Each set consisted of galvanized metal cubes with an inset LED...

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