Environment and Chemistry

In Stephen Wilson’s Information Arts, there are many interesting concepts and ecological pieces of work that have been implemented in the land and on the land.  One project that has captured my attention is Natalie Jeremijenko’s OneTree(s).  For her project, she cloned a tree named Paradox, the “F1 (1st Generation) hybrid of the native walnut tree commonly called the Northern California black, or Juglans hindsii, crossed with the English Walnut” (OneTrees: Clones.).  It was chosen for its practical urban characteristics such as its inability to produce fruit and nonexistence of significant amounts of pollen.  Since the trees are identical, they allow the collection of data of the “social and environmental differences to which they are exposed”, the environment being locations around the Bay Area.  Sites are chosen for their diversity (climate and care), public accessibility, and long-term feasibility.  I love the interdisciplinary idea of this project because it entails knowledge of biological cloning, ecosystems, botany, climatology, and sociobiology.  The results of OneTree(s) data will help map microclimates of the Bay Area, which is even more related to me because I live there when I am not here at UCSD.  The idea of cloning was always very distant and strange to me; until I read of this project I did not know it actually existed for small works such as these.  The photo below is an image of the some of the thousands of clones created for OneTree(s).

Another project that is very important in the issues it raises is Fat of the Land by Sarah Lewison.  She and her collaborators drove cross-country taking the old cooking grease from restaurants they passed by and used it to fuel their modified van.  By completing this project, they commented on the issue of economic hegemonies over oil and pollution and carbon build-up in the atmosphere.  As a piece of artwork, I love that Lewison is able to incorporate chemistry of acid, oil and combustion and the action of using what she learned in the mechanisms of the car to create an alternative biofuel.  In addition, she hopes that populations will educate themselves by advocating development of technologies and materials and one day free themselves from these monopolies.  This is an everlasting installation that will continue to affect people who are concerned for the ecological stability of the atmosphere as well as remind the population of the responsibility of preserving nature.

“OneTrees: Clones.” OneTrees: Clones. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2015. “http://www.nyu.edu/projects/xdesign/onetrees/clones/index.html”



Kristen Chan


One thought on “Environment and Chemistry

  1. It would be interesting to know how you see Jeremijinko’s work in relation to its scientific dependence. Is this art posing as science, or science posing as art? Or art through scientific methods to accommodate for what science will not take on? How does she actually work with these disciplines? Do they accept her as a collaborator?


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