Plant Life


Collaboration project with Dr. Cathrine Degnen, Lecturer in Social Anthrolopogy, as a part of intervention project

Exhibition October - November 2010 New Brave world, Meta morf,, Trondheim, Norway

Exhibition 29th June - 9th July ExLibris Gallery, Fine Art building, Newcastle university

Plant Life is comprised of two related design objects: Let’s Grow a Plant Together and Optostirps. Both projects were created to involve people in the natural world via gardening but in ways new to them. Both projects also draw on vernacular ideas about plants and gardening in British culture that emerged from the research described above, and employ them as foundational principles.



Let's grow a Plant Together

Let’s Grow a Plant Together is a collaborative plant growing and learning experience for beginner gardeners. Gardening is deeply social: gardeners learn through trial and error, but also through sharing success stories and problems with each other. Beginner gardeners however often have difficulty accessing this knowledge. To solve this problem, this project created three teams of beginner gardeners in London and Newcastle and invited them to grow a plant from seed together. Each team has a blog where members post pictures and comment daily on the plant. Team members were provided with each other’s contact details, a pot, soil, seeds, and no other information. The project has brought individual team members and the three teams into a network as they can observe each other’s progress, dilemmas, and solutions.

Team blog

Team A:

Team B:

Team C:



Optostirps is a project working with established gardeners. It offers the chance to open up discussions on the potential futures of gardening and plants by asking gardeners to imagine what sorts of wishes could be expressed by plants. Optostirps plays on the classification conventions of plants in the Western world whereby all known plants have two Latin names. The radish is, for example, Raphanus sativus. Raphanus is the plant’s genus name and sativus is its species name. Optostirps, or “I wish plant”, is the genus name for this collection of future plants. Each plant also has a corresponding species name that reflects the issues raised by the gardener consulted.