Organic Viewpoint

Wiry tendrils extend from the base of a lamp. It is planted in the middle of a field amongst countless rows of leafy crops that extend far beyond the horizon line. Like an otherworldly being, it stands tall amongst the greenery yet exudes a bright adiance we’re not used to seeing in a farmland setting. This beacon pulls us into the centre of the composition and brightens the night-time sky with an alluring, ethereal glow.

Caleb Charland’s (b. 1980) piece, Beet Field Battery (2013), comes from his Back to Light series. The project developed out of a fascination with “the potato battery,” a school science experiment whereby students would generate an electrical current using only a galvanised nail, copper wire and the humble root vegetable. He builds on this concept by looking for energy sources elsewhere in nature – from beetroots to lemons and limes. In Fruit Battery Solar System (2014), Charland arranges these organic components in concentric rings to power a white star in the centre of the floor. Scientific curiosity lies at its core.

Charland is part of Imagine Another Perspective, a group show that includes the internationally recognised artist Mandy Barker. She is known for her unsettlingly beautiful images of the plastic waste polluting our oceans, collected from beaches and arranged against stark black backgrounds. Moreover, the underwater world is the subject of Maija Tammi’s contribution to the display; she explores the life cycle of a fascinating – and “biologically immortal” – organism called Hydra vulgaris. These arresting projects join vital interdisciplinary conversations about what it takes to build a sustainable future for all species.

Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation, Imagine Another Perspective | 13 July – 8 September

Words: Diana Bestwish Tetteh

Image Credits:

  1. Caleb Charland, Beet Field Battery, Archival Digital Print, © Caleb Charland, Courtesy of East Wing/Doha.
  2. Caleb Charland, Orange Battery, 50 x 61 cm, Archival Digital Print, © Caleb Charland, Courtesy of East Wing/Doha.