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Henry Driver - SYMBIOSIS


SYMBIOSIS explores and raises awareness for how agriculture could become resilient, sustainable, and have the potential to drastically offset global carbon emissions via carbon sequestration. This could be achieved through the adoption of Regenerative Farming which seeks to increase biodiversity, enrich soils, improve water use efficiency, and enhance ecosystem services.

The project focuses on the complex symbiotic relationship which crops can have with soil fungi. This relationship provides nutrients to the crops, severely reducing the need to apply fertilisers and it’s associated environmental impacts. The relationship also increases crop disease resistance and the sequestration of carbon. Current conventual farming practises reduce or destroy these relationships. While, Regenerative Agriculture centres upon building up soil health to make these symbiotic interactions flourish.

The imagery focuses upon displaying the symbiosis in action such as the nutrient exchange points. As well as the calcium signalling which allows the plant to communicate across its’ various parts, which is central in enabling the symbiosis to occur. These communications prepare the plant for symbiosis by enabling the fungi to enter the root cells, and colonise them creating nutrient exchange points. Further research into this will enable us to breed crop varieties which excel at symbiosis increasing its benefits and occurrence.

We would like to thank the John Innes Centre for their fantastic support. In particular, we would like to thank the researchers Dr Myriam Charpentier and Catherine Jacott for their generous sharing of research and imagery, as well as Ruby
O’Grady for making the collaboration possible.

SYMBIOSIS builds upon research originating from Henry Driver’s three month artist residency at Cressing Temple Barns, which took place between August and October 2019, and was commissioned by Essex County Council. The original residency resulted in a multi-media sculpture exploring regenerative agriculture, which is on permanent public display at Cressing Temple Barns, Braintree.

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