Couch Potato

A collection of house plants have been installed in a fifth-floor space at the AC Institute in Chelsea, with a video screen above their head as part of the television-for-plants-project.

A collection of house plants have been installed in a fifth-floor space at the AC Institute in Chelsea, with a video screen above their head as part of the television-for-plants-project. The house plants are watching a six-and-a-half-minute looped video of a beautiful Italian sky at night. And visitors are being urged to bring along their own pet plants to watch the show. "Jon Keats—that really is his given name—has mastered an expression so sincere that one begins to suspect him of irony. With that look embossed on his face, he explained to a visitor, the other day, that television for plants was an extension of an earlier project to make pornography for plants. ‘Pornography is where every filmmaker starts out,’ he said evenly, ‘and in my case I was making pornography for plants by filming bees pollinating flowers.’ There were two different shows of plant porn: one in Chico, California, for about a hundred rhododendrons, and one at Montana State University, for as many zinnias. ‘I knew that the act of pollination was the most titillating experience for plants,’ Keats said. ‘So I spent a couple of days on the ground, seeing how light and shadow were experienced from their perspective. Once I had a very stark black-and-white image—sun up high, bees flying by. I let it run for a month, and let the plants experience vicarious sex. And let people stand at the periphery and giggle nervously.’"

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