Continuing her investigation on the links between ecology and humanism, Issay Rodriguez's Brighter Than Many Ever See probes narratives and meanings found in the cultivation and domestication of ornamental plants. Rodriguez's inquiry begins from her family's small garden and extends to the halls of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI). Working in collaboration with scientists from the institution, Rodriguez has learned about plant breeding methods, which include unconventional approaches that use gamma irradiation where ionizing radiation causes random changes in the DNA and induces mutations.
In understanding the transformation of plants, Rodriguez associates the process to the renewal of memories and experiences as we continue to co-exist with these life forms, particularly in a time of a global pandemic when we are forced to stay inside our respective dwellings. Hence, Rodriguez extends this contemplation by documenting these plants through photograms while considering these groundings and pledging to keep the living samples intact, healthy, and undamaged. Part of the exhibition is a series of photographs showing mutant plants rendered in monochromatic prints. These images emphasize the beauty of plant forms while the void in its surroundings is emitting a sense of opulence captured amid light. These images reveal the elaborate and intimate workings of plant breeding, leading us to think about these interventions; what we make of these findings becomes shared participation in visual culture and meaning-making entrenched in the curiosities of human-centric activities, economies, cultures, and the sciences.
Words by Gwen Bautista
Press release courtesy SILVERLENS.
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