For Jarred-In I wanted to make a hydroponic garden with a life support system that would be as gloriously displayed as the plants that were contained within it. Hydroponics lets one see the the entire physiology of the plant- roots,leaves and flowers, while also providing a wide set of theatrical possibilities from its various constituent technologies. In the original drawings and images I generated I was trying to reconcile the aesthetics of carnival rides and other amusement devices with the operations and appearance of life support machines.
When I began experimenting with different hydroponic systems at The Exploratorium I found that all the plants I was trying to grow ended up dying. They kept on getting diseases by coming in contact with the pathogens transmitted by the museum's visitors as well as those endemic to its facility. Through lots of trial and error I learned that by fully enclosing and sheltering the plants I could keep them alive. This took a huge amount of resources and energy for a life process that could ambiently chug along in the dirt right outside the museum's doors all on its own. Encased within a technologized cocoon, these plants suggested to me a type of space-ship, traveling cautiously and with great assistance through the environment of a human world.
As I considered this idea of 'space plants' I started to feel that the life support pods should be suspended in the air, and that a plant no longer bound to the soil is liberated to explore new ecological niches- flying alien beings.
There are lots of excellent compact florescent light-bulbs that can be used for hydroponics. These are very bright and provide a center stage for whatever might be grown under them. In these drawings I was trying to figure out how to use these bulbs as a decorative element in the pod design.
The final design concept required bringing together many assemblies, subsystems and components in order to create the garden. I used these drawing to think through various material and engineering requirements that would contribute to Jarred-In.
Coming up with the concept and plan for this project took about three years, and I made hundreds of drawings along the way. Most of these look like advanced chicken scratch, but on occasion I would hunker down and make something more refined. I had to think about so many technicaly specific issues in order to build the garden and taking the time to imagine how it might finally look helped in making decisions.