The plant inside this device is both interactive with people and protected from them. Its metal armor closes up when approached and opens when people move away from it. Through cloning and micropropagation technologies, humankind has engineered creations such as the Spineless Opuntia, a cactus that lacks its original defense mechanism against those who eat them. This sculpture embodies my impulse to protect this vulnerable, human-engineered creation. But it also reveals the folly of protection in its heavy reliance on technology.

  • Rearming the Spineless Opuntia 1999
  • Materials Live Spineless Opuntia cactus, electronic components – including ultrasonic sensors and microprocessor - motor, copper, steel, aluminum and rubber
  • Dimensions 60" x 30" x 30"
  • Exhibited G2 Gallery, Chicago, IL • Vedanta Gallery, Chicago, IL • Visual Arts Museum, New York, NY • Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain • Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Perth, Australia • Experimenta, Melbourne, Australia • Tweed Museum, Duluth, MN • Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery, Bowling Green, OH • Bell Museum of Natural History, Minneapolis, MN • Pomerene Center for the Arts, Coschocton, OH • Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art, Norway