Crop Rotations for Grinnell (Remember the Seed Germ)
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Rose Hall Dorm, Grinnell College
installed September 2005
22 digital C-prints, plexiglass; 372" x 78"

photos by David Kennedy



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These Crop Rotations are derived from a scanned sample of corn from an Iowa field. The sample image is digitally manipulated to create kaleidoscopic patterns. The frieze is a cycle of rotations based on the same content, forming a set of possibilities yielded from a common source.

Like other systems of architectural ornament - the foliated forms of Islamic tiles, rose windows, and more locally for Grinnell, the work of Louis Sullivan - this one is based on botany and geometry. Sullivan wrote a philosophical treatise about his architectural ornamentation. He called it a process of awakening the potential of geometric forms by extending them into complex tendrils and interlacings. While my processes and medium are very different from his, I like his admonition to “Remember the Seed-Germ”. I think he was referring to the tremendous metaphorical potential of these small dry things, and our responsibility when coaxing this potential into being. With the advent of new technologies like genetic engineering, the seed-germ's actual potentials - both wondrous and monstrous - are very much in question.

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