“I myself haven’t seen the flower – but I’ve heard you describe it.”
Collecting and imagining various, often contradictory human expectations of flowers have led Marcin Rusak to envision the Monster Flower: a speculative hybrid that renders the existing genetic manipulations visible – and tangible – in an obscure, thought-provoking form. The “Monster Flower I” thus became a monument of the unattainable – however imaginable – qualities we, as consumers, growers, and sellers seek in commodified plants.
An ideal flower reflects human needs.
Its form, shape and scent are filtered through the obscurity of our senses, and the practicality of our economy. Through genetic modifications and extensive breeding, the plant loses its scent but gains a longer vase life. It is bred to keep its petals, shed no pollen, and remain vibrant with colours. A strong, vertical stem is designed to fit as many as possible in the cart. The plant thus gains the ability to travel. It even has an internationally recognised passport.
The research, first iterated in 2014, included consultations with plant geneticists and horticulture specialists from the Wageningen University in the Netherlands; hand-crafting original flower hybrids with flower specialists and engineers in Amsterdam, and an array of 3D scanning techniques. The scans were then digitised and processed into 3D renders, and, finally, a unique sculpture 3D printed in nylon at the Medical University in London.
The ghostly appearance of the sculpture reminisces of both the fragility of the floral material as well as the volatility of our expectations.
Just like imaginary creatures depicted in Medieval manuscripts and exotic plants meticulously analysed in botanic plaques, the initial sketches for the floral hybrid represent a mere phantasy of what is possible to achieve.
The Monster Flower became a symbol of Marcin Rusak’s inextinguishable passion for flowers, offering a critical commentary on our desire to manipulate, preserve, and interpret floral matter.