The Quivering of the Reed

Filed under: 2019, installation

The Quivering of the Reed is an installation that merges together experimental scientific practices with early moving image devices. A pot of cat-grass — a fast-growing assemblage of grass, soil nutrients and water, designed as a scaled down and domestic form of pasture — is placed on top of a rotating platform in between a source of light and a projection screen made of millimetric paper. The shadows produced by the rotating plants on the screen create an endless stream of ever-changing images.

Camera-less. This material form of vegetal filmmaking is complemented by a sequence of subtitles. These take a sentence by Andrei Tarkovsky as a starting point: "Just as from the quivering of a reed you can tell what sort of current, what pressure there is in a river, in the same way we know the movement of time from the flow of the life-process reproduced in the shot". The projected text inverts, however, the filmmaker's statement: the movement of time in media shapes and transforms the living by measuring and creating new conditions of manipulation.

Film-less. Devised as the encounter of three surfaces — the leaves of the plant, the millimetric paper and the projected subtitles — the installation exposes a very particular form of synchronisation: the plant occupies the position of the film reel, it registers light as well as it produces images. In rotation, it becomes a planetary diagram. An imaging planet, from the deep time of the moving images, facing the temporality of mechanical extractivity.