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SEROTINY is an interactive installation co-designed by Site Workshop and SHKS Architects inspired by concepts of emergence, including the way that complex systems arise out of simple interactions and the act of coming into view. Serotiny is a phenomenon exhibited by certain plants, especially trees, in which they retain seeds in pods or cones, often for many years, until a disaster like the heat of a wildfire causes their release. After the disaster, the land is clear and fertile, conditions that allow the seeds to grow and thrive. The installation prompts the question, “What are we taking, and what are we leaving behind?” as we move forward to envision and build a new world together, with the perspective we have gained during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visitors to the installation will enter a quiet, dimly-lit space and move into a vibrant, lighter space. This progression represents our emerging from a long year spent isolating in our homes, and moving into a brighter, more social post-vaccine future. When participants enter the space, they will be prompted to think about what they wish to leave behind and not carry with them into the future. They will release their burden by writing it down on a piece of paper embedded with seeds provided by the design team. Passing through the lighter space, visitors will be encouraged to take seeds that they can plant and watch grow, providing something delightful to look forward to and care for.
The installation will be composed of a freestanding wood framework, with openings and materials that evoke the feeling of moving from dark to light and support the activation of the space. A combination of materials will support the simple activities of writing and receiving. The installation will use recycled/reused or easily recyclable and biodegradable materials to minimize impact on the environment.
The project will have a life beyond the festival as the seeds germinate and grow and objects are given new purpose. Our hope for this project is that it will bring individuals together through a playful and meaningful collective experience as we emerge after a long period of dormancy.