We Don’t Grow Rose
There is an openness in art that it is acceptable to create works that is not totally rational.
Rethinking about how little moments we have experienced with the nature nowadays and how
easy we consume the natural resources, this project would propose a set of instructions for you to
spend your (valuable) time to engage with the nature.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, most of us are encouraged to stay home and conduct
quarantine. These instructions are to be carried at home mostly for you. German artist Joseph
Beuys’s 7000 Oak trees project illustrated how he thinks of public art as a mean of social sculpture
that planting 7000 trees in a country does not only physically enhanced urbanisation with green
elements, but also aims to change people mindset regarding the living spaces around us, that
human and nature can, and should be, coexist.
Further developed from Beuys idea, you may not aware that there are tons of waste that we
produced everyday and most of us are too used to this issue that we do not feel sorry about it. The
2011 Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology study estimated the total of global food loss
and waste to around one third of the edible parts of food produced for human consumption,
amounting to about 1.3 billion tonnes per year.
That over-easiness and effortless ways of obtaining materials in this society reduces our sensitivity
in understanding and treasuring “time” as when we deal with the nature, that we believe “time” are
buyable: vegetables and fruits we eat daily seems to be only as a result of money transaction, that
we do not feel the time needed for one vegetables to grow from a seed/bud, nor the effort one
takes to nurture it. Some people suggest that maybe one effect of COVID-19 is that we can at least
try to slow down a bit and to reflect the life we used to have. This project aims to set some
instruction that encourage you to grow something that is extremely ordinary, or even things that we
generally treat as rubbish: regrowing vegetables from kitchen scraps that those roots we cut from
vegetables as after buying them from the markets.
This project welcomes everyone to take part. You are welcome to share this idea with your friends,
family members and communities, and invite them to take part. It will be an approximately 1 month
(or longer) project that involves multi-practices: growing plants, photo documentaries, research,
art creations, cooking and sharing.
You will be required to purchase 3 fresh vegetables from your local market. Advises will be given
on species of vegetables that are relatively easy to re-grow from the cut-root condition*; in general
this project will aim for those plants that we consume the leaves such as cabbages but not roots
such as carrots. It will be also interesting to discover your local vegetables species that maybe less
common to people from other countries.
Only the roots part will be kept. Detail suggestions will be given for how to keep the roots alive
and try to regrow from the root remains in the Plant Care part*.
You will be performing a series of practices:
︎︎︎1. Try the best to keep the vegetable roots alive, you will be growing 3 roots (same species) as to
increase the chance of survival;
︎︎︎2. Photo documentary will be taken everyday to record the condition/regrowing of the vegetable
for 30 continuous day. It is important to spend time with those vegetables and to literally see
the changes, those photos will be presented at the end of the project. Think about how you
want to present it: A time-lapse video? A series of photos in album formate? And in what
︎︎︎3. You will also spend time to study the species that you will be growing: origin, habitats, historical
development, cultivations and so on. It is interesting to know the background of the food that we
eat daily. Please share this research report with us by emailing the artist / sandwich space.
This research report indicate a sense of care that you know more about what you grow and the time
you spent with your plant is beautiful and extensive;
At the end of the planting, 3 different approaches will be taken for your 3 vegetables:
︎︎︎4. One vegetable will be harvested (regardless of how big it regrows) and being cooked by you
such that you will be eating the 1-month-effort. Tell us what do you feel? do you feel blessed,
pity, reluctant to cook it or mere indifferent? Why make you feel in that way?
︎︎︎5. One vegetable will be kept for growing as long as they could, I remember I had grown some
beans in the past that they germinate, blossoms and reproduce beans. You are encouraged to
regularly update the vegetable image via instagram hashtags #wedontgrowrose . Remember
this project is interesting as others are also growing their plants too. This sharing motivates
others and welcome more people to take part;
︎︎︎6. One vegetable will be employed as an inspiration for you to create an artwork. Your inspiration
can be your experience in spending your time that vegetable (think of the meaning behind, what is
the importance of this project and how the element of time makes different with this plant than the
others, what is the meaning of regrowing to you) the vegetable per se (biological / aesthetic
inspiration such as the pattern of the leaves, the colours, the curves, the plant’s reaction to the light,
or by employing the vegetable itself as the media such as brushes), any association with the
vegetable / project (historical / iconographical / cultural factors) and so on. You can employ different
approaches to create your work and there is no limitation for the medium for the art creation.
︎ Surprise us. Send us your artwork by emailing the artist / sandwich space, or post on Instagram
︎ Please remember that there is an openness in this project that it allows organic involvement and
no succeed / failure judgments should be made. We can all expect that some vegetables may die
within the 30 days durations and plan may not go smoothly as we predict. No worry. It is fine.
There is always lesson that we can learn and get inspired from this experience. It is that you do
spend your meaningful time onto the seemingly non-meaningful project that matters. Accidents
such as death of the plants may provoke more interesting reflections to you. Tell us what do you
feel if the vegetable just die before the 30 days proposed timeline; tell us if you want to try again if
all vegetables die within the 30 days project; tell us which approaches will you take if you have only
1 or 2 vegetable available after the 30 day project, will you cook it, keep growing it or make artwork
out of it.
It is an experimental approach for all of us to literally slow down and spend time with the ordinary
things that we may overlook and to see what it can brings us to. Enjoy your journey.
*General species of vegetables that are easy to grow from the cut and how to take care of them:
︎︎︎ Head-form, leafy veggies: Lettuce, Bok Choy, celery romaine, and cabbage
Grow from the leftover leaves or plant’s base, put into 3-5cm water, refresh the water regularly,
︎︎︎ Bulk / bulb-like allium family: Scallions, onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, lemongrass and fennel
All the allium family can grow from the rooting base of the bulb or stem. Put the rooting base into
3-5cm water and refresh the water regularly, indirect sunlight
︎︎︎ Herbs: Basil, mint, cilantro, lemongrass and other herbs
Place a stem of around 10cm long into a glass of water and roots will soon being to grow