THIGMOTROPIA, an installation by HANNAH CHALEW
Behind Poppa Joe’s Guest House, 2037 Carpenter, Detroit
Thigmotropia is a work in progress, a collaboration with nature and the variability of the elements, as well as a platform to explore possibilities for cross-pollinations between the built environment, cultivated plants, and the weeds that grow up in between.
As humans, we have an innate desire to control and cultivate nature, but in our absence the built environment becomes a trellis for nature to overrun. Thigmotropism is the name of the process by which a plant moves or grows in response to touch or contact stimuli; it is the mechanism by which vines grow over solid objects like trees or houses.Located on an abandoned lot in Detroit, Thigmotropia is a living sculptural installation where vines grow over built structures, creating second skins that reference both architectural and organic forms.
Thigmotropia is also an invitation to reframe the role of “weeds” in the urban fabric. The installation allows vines to transcend their negative connotations as the harbinger of decay by collaborating with them to create living sculptures that provide an evocation of future use and new life.