GROW is project based on my investigation of perceptions of authenticity in a technologically dependent society. It involves collaborating with scientists to take 3D microcomputed tomography X-rays (XCT) of sprouting agricultural seeds to capture the dynamic transformation at the point of germination in 3D. Micro XCT is conventionally static but there is now ground-breaking work capturing movement as an object is transformed; such as a seed sprouting from an embryonic state. Once this process has been captured I am then creating 3D animations of the resulting datasets in a unique scientific volume exploration tool Drishti.

The premise behind capturing the germination of economic seeds – such as mung bean, corn, sunflower, soy and wheat – stems from my interest in agricultural philosophy and the issues raised about our future in the era of genetic modification. In thinking, researching and developing GROW, I am considering contemporary= questions surrounding the comparative values between perceived natural and artificially cultivated food sources.

As agriculture is one of humankind’s founding components of civilization I am exploring how the phenomena and mythology of agriculture in everyday use is understood; including ethics, history, tradition, socio-economics, trade networks, production, consumption and biodiversity. I am using contemporary scientific technology in conjunction with economic plant species to encompass these ideas and draw out concepts of sustainability and extinction in the natural world.

The germinating seed is a starting point.


Erica Seccombe is a visual artist living and working in Canberra. She is currently Visiting Fellow in the ANU Department of Applied Mathematics on an artistic residency working with experimental and theoretical scientists on a collaboration that will assist towards understanding the complex interrelationship of mechanical 3D components of physical objects and balancing visual density with information content. A complementary and concurrent focus on the visualisation and animation of complex datasets also promises to contribute to Seccombe’s long-term research project looking at the influence of scientific technology on visual media and contemporary art, as well as producing a wealth of material for use in future artworks.