Project Description (English)

If gardens are sites to experiment with relations between nature and technology symbolically for pleasure, then fields explore the same relationship for profit. Both can be expressions of national interest. The National Security Garden is a hybrid form combining elements of agricultural fields and representational gardens.  The artwork creates a local public image of soybean plants, one of the most significant agricultural crops in the world, with the intention of initiating a public discourse about the complex issues embodied by this one, often invisible, plant.  As an international public project, this installation poses critical questions about the interconnections between the agricultural-bio-industrial complex, climate change, energy issues and food production.

In late May 2012, the interdisciplinary artist duo, Shannon McMullen and Fabian Winkler will install a 200 square foot designed field of soybean plants in front of the City Hall of Singen/Htwl. in southern Germany. At night 1500 solar-powered magenta LED grow lights will illuminate and support the growth the soybean plants from the ground up with energy harvested during the day. This lighting design can be seen as both a utopian contribution to Michael Pollan’s idea of “sun farming” and as a critical reflection on the limits and possible pitfalls of technological interventions in the natural environment.

Download the full project description/contextualization: NSG_description_english.pdf (1.9MB)