Flower Power: This Machine Seed-Bombs Dirty Air

Takepart.comApril 24, 2013

There’s nothing wrong with “art for art’s sake,” the notion that works of art don’t require a justification or need to serve a higher purpose. But it’s also kind of cool when they do transcend that philosophy and send a specific message.

That’s certainly the case with artist Michael Jantzen’s design for his Eco-Seed Sowing Machines. The solar-powered structures would contain a large number of flower seeds that would be automatically released in small amounts whenever evidence of environmental degradation was observed around the machines.

Jantzen calls the project “a symbolic public art response to environmental degradation,” and he’d like to see the machines located in places around the world where environmental damage is the worst.



He tells TakePart that, “The inspiration for the Eco-Seed Sowing Machines was not to make energy from the sun and wind, but rather to use the sun to power the machines in remote areas. This project was designed in response to the fact that there is so much of the natural environment being destroyed that most people are not aware of.”

While Jantzen’s machines would be a reminder of this fact, he notes that, “Of course there is a paradox here in the fact that as more environmental damage occurs, more seeds are released from the machines, and therefore the area around the machines become more beautiful as the flowers grow.” 

Jantzen explains that the machines would receive their seed-releasing orders automatically via signals sent through an Internet connection. “The data that would activate the release of the seeds would be gathered from multiple sources such as Earthwatch,” he says. “The evaluation of environmental degradation would be very comprehensive, and would include air, water, soil, animals, politics, etc.”

Beyond making a clear connection between environmental destruction and the release of the seeds, Jantzen says, “I am hoping that art projects like this might make people more aware of how everything and everyone is connected, sometimes in very direct and obvious ways, but most often in very complex and subtle ways.”

Do you believe projects like this can help raise awareness of pollution and environmental destruction?

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Lawrence Karol is a writer and editor who lives with his dog, Mike. He is a former Gourmet staffer and enjoys writing about design, food, travel and lots of other stuff. @WriteEditDream | Email Lawrence | TakePart.com