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Pomme de parterre

Inspired by grade school science experiments, Pomme de parterre involves harnessing the latent energy of potatoes to produce a visual and aural environment within a specially designed underground chamber located within a potato patch. The formal parterre garden is planted with sixteen different varieties of potatoes. In the centre of the parterre is a chamber/root cellar housing a potato battery made of approximately 1,000 potatoes (the number an average Canadian family consumes annually). The electricity produced by the potatoes is converted into a sonic signal and then broadcast as a variable drone inside the chamber. The resulting effect is the translated sound of 1,000 potatoes.

Standing as a counter point to Leo Marx’s concept of a “paradise lost” wrought by the machined destruction of nature, it also proposes a rebalancing of this destructive relationship by privileging the organic over the machine and by relegating technology to a service role charged with revealing nature’s extra-ordinary power. This garden filled with apples-of-the-earth, stands as a working example of how we can achieve a sustainable “Edenic” existence anywhere on earth.

Architect: Angela Iarocci, Claire Ironside, David Ross

Years of exhibition: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

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