28th June 2021 was a special day. It was the day, chosen by Guillaume, to be the starting point of my project “Random Sampling Singapore”. I asked him to generate the 100 coordinates, which I want to explore in the following months.
As Guillaume always endeavors to connect some dots and to highlight conjunctions, he wanted to start at a special place. He brought me to a memorial plaque at the French Embassy Singapore, which carries the very date on one of the 10 war victims listed on the plaque.
To see this plaque with the names of the soldiers reminds me how fragile our peaceful lives can be. Just a bit more than 100 years went by and in between was another horrible world war. Combining Guillaume’s and my life span, 100 years in total in 2022, are blessed with peace and merit. This project should stand under the sign of gratefulness for life and I try my best to spread harmony not conflicts, understanding and tolerance, not intolerance and rejection.
Generating 100 random points
To help us with our plan, Anthony Chaumuzeau, the Counsellor for Culture, Education and Science welcomed us in the French Embassy at the Cluny Park Road, right next to Singapore’s UNESCO World Heritage, the Botanic Gardens.
This video shows how we generated the 100 GPS coordinates in front of the memorial plaque.
On the land of the French embassy I took soil and sound samples, as well a sample of a weed Guillaume was standing during the action. At home I investigated and sorted my data.
The weed I was taking from the little grass batch in front of the plaque gots my special attention. The plant is very common in Singapore. Almost on every natural field, pathway or groove this creeping plant finds it’s way to grow. When its flowering it rejoice us with little pink pompoms, if you touch or step on it, it closes it’s leaves and reopens them later. Such a joy for young children to play with. In Singapore it’s commonly called “touch-me-not” or “shame-plant”. The botanical name is Mimosa pudica.
In the process of evaluation I came across the French scientist Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan who had studied first the unique response to touch on the mimosa’s foliage. In 1729 de Mairan studied the mimosa pudica and could demonstrate with an experiment the existence of circadian rhythms in plants.
You can watch out for touch-me-not plants at your next evening walk and you can see that the leaves of the mimosa plant open towards the sun during day, but closes at dusk. Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan asked himself, if its just get triggered by light, so he put his mimosa pudica plant in a cabinet during the day (constant darkness) and found that the leaves continue to follow their normal daily rhythm, even without any fluctuations in daily light.
This experiment proofed that plants “know” what time it is without being told and behave accordingly. Now even the key genes are identified which caused the internal clock of living creatures (Nobel Prize winners 2017, Young, Rosbash, Hall) . The field of chronobiology is exiting and ticks in all of us.
It took a while to process all the data and define the outcome. The roots of the mimosa plant, the connections I made and will make with this project and Guillaume’s methodology was spinning in my head. In November he added one more sample which sparked finally the idea for the artwork. He brought me a sample of the fabric of the L’Arc de Triophme. The team of the late artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude were implementing this grandiose project and I was dazzled when I was holding a part of it in my hand. A connection to his hometown Paris was made. Art was interweaving a Positive Network.
On our 100st birthday (together we became 100 on the 21.May 2022), I was gifting him this artwork. Happy Birthday, Guillaume.
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