Amsterdam-based artist Diana Scherer investigates the desire for humans to control nature through her series Exercises in Root System Domestication. The project combines design, craft, and science to manipulate plants’ subterranean systems into forming mesmerizing interlocking patterns that are unlike what is found organically. To “train” the roots to grow in such complex patterns, Scherer develops underground geometric templates that the roots grow along and merge with as they grow.
This intelligent behavior of plants below ground, away from humanity’s watchful eye, is another inspiration for Scherer’s work. “Darwin discovered that plants are a lot more intelligent than everybody thought,” she explains on her website. “For contemporary botanists, this buried matter is still a wondrous land. There is a global investigation to discover this hidden world. I also want to explore it and apply the ‘intelligence’ of plants in my work.” You can view more of her root explorations on her website and on Facebook.