Revival Fields Part 1 [2] [3]


Revival Fields (Stuttgart, 2000-2001)
Hohenheim University, Department of Plant Nutrition

Ten years after the first Revival Field, Mel Chin initiates its continuation Revival Fields in its 'Stuttgart Version' . This time the artist is working in link with Hohenheim University, Department of Plant Nutrition.


This is the first project which will not only use hyperaccumulators, but the next category of plants, the aptly named 'superaccumulators'. These new plants, developed jointly with the US, France and Germany, have shown a major leap in the amount of power to draw quantities of heavy metals from the soil. The implications should be understood in terms of time, implying a more realizable, human scale dimension to the overall duration of a soil-cleansing project.

Planting in different fields + greenhaus

The planting will take place in different fields, including the University and polluted test fields donated by farmers near the Neckar (see information on planting in Neckarwestheim 4.7.2001), and as an index in the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart. After the harvest and tests, in the end of 2001, the project will be presented in an exhibition form by Mel Chin. Before that time, beginning in November, developed over the website in December, and extending through summer 2001, haus.0 will be making available in the Künstlerhaus fourth floor various materials from the earlier project, the planting index, and a planned discussion on this project by Mel Chin.

Highly guarded, privately owned 'brands'

The Revival Fields project offers the first field tests undertaken outside the US. It is hoped through the actual tests that these new plants will lead to more effective, satisfying results within a shorter time period. Among other aspects that have changed in a decade since the first Revival Field, is that today the new breed of plants are all becoming highly guarded, privately owned 'brands', the access of these for research is difficult and costly.

Revival Fields continues aspects of Chin's specific enquiry and modelling of artistic practice in terms of a transformative ecology. Thus it presents as a project the scientific results which in the frame of 'art' now ten years onwards still provides the possibility that science research can receive field test results on these valuable plants, outside of the conventional hightech laboratory [ See also website 'art+science on Mel Chin' ( ]. Through the plant is also seen a transformation of informations forming links to different publics from university to artist's space.
For more context detail see interview with Mel Chin


Revival Fields Part 2: "greenhaus" [1] [3]



Mel Chin’s Stuttgart Revival Fields project extends into its next phase with the introduction of a greenhouse into the 4th floor of Künstlerhaus. Also this phase of the project takes place in collaboration with the University of Hohenheim, Department of Plant Nutrition (department website). The new greenhouse starts up the hyperaccumulator plants seedlings required for the next phase, spring planting in the selected test fields. The artist introduced a design for the new greenhouse by adding and refitting the spiral staircase-turned- sculpture of the 4th floor. This staircase began life in 1984 as part of the renovation of the Künstlerhaus. The architect introduced it as a link between the public "communication" floor (the groundfloor café) and the Künstlerhaus first floor. The idea was limited by the reality of the café, mixing environments, and inevitably, the desired flow and link never functioned. Thus the spiral stairway was soon reduced to being a large support for planters, and finally dismantled to storage in the cellar. In 1999, the haus.0 program reintroduced the stairway in its 4th floor structure.

Chin’s design for a greenhaus reflects the haus.0 program philosophy to constantly work with and add new meaning to the past / future traces of histories evident in the institutional identity, whether by earlier or current programming or architectural structures. The metal staircase with it's spiral form functions well as the interior supporting system for planters. While it humorously recalls what the staircase had already ended up serving as in the past, despite the best planning, it also recalls the point of the greenhaus and its new plants, in terms of the ecological project, as each supporting step has a metal zinc-coating, an old process that directly recalls the hazardous byproducts of industry. The staircase in the transformation to the new greenhaus also recalls the intention of having communication and links between the participating institutions and artists underway.

Revival Fields Part 3: the planting (Neckarwestheim)    [1] [2]