PLANTBOT GENETICS: MONSANTA
December 5, 2015 - January 19, 2016
Wendy DesChene, Jeff Schmuki
NOTE: This is a Seed Space exhibition, curated by Rachel Bubis. Seed Space was founded by Adrienne Outlaw.
The artist team of Wendy DesChene and Jeff Schmuki make up PlantBot Genetics Inc., a parody of the Monsanto Corporation and other Big Ag Firms who skillfully manipulate current food production and distribution systems.
Posing as a farmer at a leading Biotech Research Laboratory and using transgenic seeds from the Monsanto Corporation, genetically modified food plants are grafted onto remote controlled bases creating PlantBots that are released to engage unsuspecting audiences. Here, people are motivated to question their food, where it comes from, and where it may be going. PlantBots such as Monsantra asks communities to consider the food they eat and how it arrives to their plates. Coupling this poetry with current scientific knowledge on the environmental and social costs of bioengineered crops, Monsantra provokes investigations into current agricultural practices inspiring individuals to think more critically despite their connections to farming, economic level, education, or art interest.
“Invoking one part Big Agriculture Bad Guys and one part The Yes Men, the artist team made up of Wendy DesChene and Jeff Schmuki combine their talents to form PlantBot Genetics Inc. — a send-up of companies like Monsanto whose genetic engineering, genome patenting and pesticide spreading is the bane of environmentalists and healthy food advocates around the world. The duo's Monsantra presentation and exhibition at Seed Space features genetically modified food plants grafted onto remote-controlled platforms to create mecha-monster PlantBots. But the real highlight here is the weaving of the duo's fictional parody with real world information about food, science, the environment and the cost of unsustainable agricultural practices that put profits and production ahead of healthy people, healthy food and a healthy world to grow it in.” - Joe Nolan, Nashville Scene (Dec. 3, 2015)