Gourmet Restaurant for Plants


How cool and interesting and weird is this?




Here's what I know about it:

The Crocker Art Museum will open the world’s first photosynthetic restaurant this spring. Conceptual artist Jonathon Keats has developed a gourmet cuisine for flora by filtering and mixing different wavelengths of sunlight. Keats’ installation will be on view in the floral plantings in front of the historic Crocker from April 16 through July 17, 2011.

 An experimental philosopher, Keats has a long history of encompassing other species in his installations. He has choreographed a ballet for honeybees by selectively planting flowers around their hives. He has also produced travel documentaries for houseplants by projecting videos of foreign skies onto their foliage in a darkened theater.

 “What motivates me is curiosity. In the case of my photosynthetic restaurant, I wondered what it’s like to be human and to do peculiarly human things like savoring a good meal,” Keats explains. “Adapting a common human activity to the plant kingdom—without anthropomorphizing the plants—is a way to explore an aspect of human behavior that we otherwise take for granted. “

 Keats’ efforts to share aspects of human culture with other species encourages us to scrutinize our own cultural values. He adds, “If this project succeeds, the plants at the Crocker will eat well, and the people who encounter them—myself included—will have a provocative conversation.”

Cool idea.  Has anyone seen it?


  1. “Keats’ efforts to share aspects of human culture with other species encourages us to scrutinize our own cultural values.”

    I wonder how the other species feel about his sharing of human culture?

  2. Umm, I want the science behind plants use of different colored wavelengths of light before I take a bite out of this crazy notion. I’ll give it pretty. The idea being expressed behind it is so much sunshine being blown up your know what without some basis in fact. Exactly what plant was Keats dining on when he came up with this idea of a cultural exchange.

  3. I have been really intrigued by Keats since a friend forwarded me the info about this exhibit. Read his wikipedia entry and prepare to feel very lazy about your own creative accomplishments. I felt like the world’s laziest bastard after I was done with it. His fiction is worth a read too.

  4. I’ve been to the Crocker twice in the last few months, but didn’t see this. Must’ve been installed right after my last visit. Like Leslie (above), I’ll have to run over & check it out, too !

  5. Cool, weird and interesting. I love the idea of choreographing honeybees, and this ‘installation’ (is that what art is, these days?) is fun to look at. If we all waited for ‘scientific proof’ that something happens or works, we would still be lost in the murk of …. well, lost in the murk. I adore that someone is thinking outside the human perspective box. I talk to my plants all the time, they talk to me, and although I have no idea about the effectiveness of putting sunlight through these colored panels on the plants, I bet they appreciate the thought. Plants are people too.

  6. Nourishing food for thought! I love it. Thank you, Regina for posting his wikipedia entry–I was completely agog at this artist’s brilliance, originality and humor. And it was exciting to learn that before the travel film for plants he dabbled in plant pornography (pollination scenes, of course!)

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