Cultivar, 1999

Natalie Taylor and Jill Ragett, Writtle College, Cambridgeshire
Aluminium, glass, 18 heritage varieties of tomato plants, mechanical aparatus, water system, greenhouse, greenhouse paint, catapults
400cm x 300cm x 200cm
 

In the face of a media furore about GM technology and the marketing of a new GM tomato we devised a system for these traditionally raised and biodiverse heritage tomato plants to affect their environment. Movement sensitive switches were attached to the tomatoes’ branches which were linked to battery powered catapults that contained glasshouse paint.  As the plants grew they had the power to trigger the catapults, releasing the glasshouse paint at the clear glass walls. Anyone who has grown tomatoes will know that they need a bit of shade from a normal glasshouse as it becomes so hot inside. The catapults gave the plants the opportunity to cut down the overwhelmingly strong summer light, protecting them from drying out. Several of the catapults were triggered during the exhibition.