Used to the fragrant flowers from your childhood memories, you continue to smell the flowers in a ritualistic and futile gesture. The scent, like taste, cannot be captured on a film – it can, however, be represented by colour. Imagine a scentless flower – pale, ghost-like. This most probably is how the flowers nowadays appear to insects. The bees could not care less about the longer vase life, size of the petals or thickness of the stalk. Furthermore, the smell they would be attracted to we could consider nauseating. The plants are so dull, they might as well be transparent to them. Scent was the first one to lose the race towards the ideal flower.
For many centuries, floral trade has developed into an art of manipulation. The growing consumerist culture, intertwined with the flower trade boom, led to the point where flowers cease to represent the qualities that were once considered valuable. Science and technology successfully made what is basically a bouquet of sexual organs, stop acting as such. As the market grew and customers’ preferences changed, a quest to create the prefect flower blossomed. The ideal plant would not only suit our subjective and rather questionable taste, but also meet the high requirements of the breeders or the big and small sellers. The cut flower industry has begun to struggle between what is natural and unspoiled and what is mass-produced and commercial. Although we didn’t yet manage to change the flowers’ main purpose – which is to reproduce and die – we continually try to make it please an ever wider audience in the meantime.
One cannot help but wonder – where will this journey lead us? What would this perfect flower look like? What form should a hybrid of such diverse human desires gain – is it possible to encompass them within one genetic mash? The artist began to work with plant geneticists, horticulture specialists and engineers in an attempt to create a super bloom. They created a plant that would meet all of the industry’s requirements. But since perfection is always monstrous, their work became a balancing act between expectations and what is possible. Altering the incompatible species by hand, a palpable body was given to the artist’s research. A physical organism was born out of studies and research. Constructed rather than born, the most elaborate species constituted the monstrous creature. Unfamiliar, bizarre shapes joined together embodied an impressive but rather delicate organism.
The monstrous yet ephemeral creature was given a more stable cast. Scanned and 3D printed, the plant has turned into a nylon, bone white, sculpture. Haunting within its glass cabinet, it is a lasting symbol and reminder of the compromise between longevity and scent, colour and shape, what geneticists can imagine and what flowers will allow.