Japanese artist Azuma Makoto recently ventured to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to launch a 50-year-old pine bonsai and a colorful floral arrangement into space. The mission, titled Exobotanica, aimed to explore the transformation of the plants into exobiota (extraterrestrial life) in outer space.
Tokyo-based artist Makoto Azuma doesn’t appear to believe in doing things by halves. His latest installation looks at the universe, beyond Earth, as a site for appreciating beauty and art. Two pieces, a Japanese white pine bonsai known as the “Shiki 1”, and an untitled arrangement of orchids, hydrangeas, lilies and irises, were launched into the stratosphere last week in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada. This is part of project Exobotanica – Botanical Space Flight (see more pictures here), where Azuma heads a 10 person team, coupled with Sacramento-based JP Aerospace — “America’s Other Space Program”, a volunteer-based organization that constructs and sends vessels into orbit.
Azuma is interested in the beauty of organic movement in plants, and how this beauty would be suspended in space as a weightless environment. The objects themselves – the bonsai plant and the flower arrangement, have an almost uneasy juxtaposition in their nature. On the one hand, they are organic, Earth-bound items that send instant connotations to the viewer about the beauty of our natural world, yet both represent a natural world moulded by human hands – the miniaturised tree and the specifically arranged flowers. In the end, they can almost be seen less as art and more as specific examples of Earthly design; an amalgamation of human and mother nature’s architecture, broadcast to the universe beyond.
But equally as stunning is the documentary imagery itself, taken from orbit and brought back to Earth. Oh to see what those blossoms have seen!
azuma makoto sends 50 year old bonzai tree into space for exobiotanica project all images courtesy azuma makoto
Tokyo-based artist Azuma Makoto in collaboration with john powell of JP aerospace have completed a botanical space flight, sending a Japanese white pine bonsai suspended from a carbon-fiber frame, and an arrangement of orchids, hydrangeas, lilies and irises, among other plants into the stratosphere. launched with a specially equipped balloon from black rock desert in Nevada, the mission, entitled ‘exbiotanica’, was conceptualized to let different plants step into the unknown, away from earth.