French artist Monsieur Plant has been fascinated with vegetation from a very young age. By repurposing old computers into thriving terrariums, he makes a bold statement about the relationship between modern mankind and nature. His sculptures are also beautiful little green worlds that delight the eyes. We caught up with him for some insight into his art form.
When did you first get the idea of ‘Plant Your Mac’? Which was the first sculpture of the series and what inspired it?
I worked for several years in a creative studio and our main tool was the Mac, so I was able to collect and retrieve a few of them that I kept before launching this project. The first Mac creation was the ‘Macarnivor’, with a carnivorous plant.
I like unusual and rare plants. Carnivorous plants are unique plants that have developed extraordinary methods like attracting and feeding on insects.
For Macarnivor, the entire computer needed to be emptied and filled with a mixture of substrate to make a bog: the ideal mixture for carnivorous plants.
Could you walk us through the process of creating one of your sculptures?
Each computer part has been adapted to receive the plant associated with it. The substrate, the irrigation system… all is carefully thought out to support the requirements of the plant.
Step 1: Choose the most suitable computer model to accommodate the plants I want to cultivate.
Step 2: Clean the computer, remove all electronic components and all iron materials that might rust. Check that the water can drain after watering.
Step 3: Make a substrate that meets the requirements of the plants and put it in the computer.
Step 4: Plant the plants in the computer, and put it in an environment adapted to these requirements (light and irrigation).
What are some of the challenges that arise in your process?
Uniting all the conditions to successfully grow the plants is the greatest challenge. I have a special room in my house where I grow my plants. In there, I manage all conditions to be perfect to support growth.
What are the issues and topics that you like to explore in your art practice?
Since adolescence, I have been fascinated by both vegetables and the vegetable world. In this world of consumerism and non essential products, I take the time to cultivate plants, know them and give them an unusual place to thrive: high in urban culture and art.
Is there an overarching message or feeling you hope to give your audience through your work?
I like to play with capitalist symbols and give them a natural and ethical appearance. This is to say that nature will always triumph over man and his consumption patterns.
What is the most precious or unusual plant your have used in an installation?
The most precious or unusual plant for me is the orchid. It’s delicate and difficult to grow and flourish.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned as an artist?
Patience and perseverance.
See more of Monsieur Plant’s unique work at www.monsieurplant.com.