The Machinic Landscape of Tulips
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Spotted yesterday on Der Spiegel is the above photograph of tulip farms in the northern Netherlands. No doubt artificially induced to coincide with Mother's Day in the U.S. and in many other countries this month, we see the fields explode in Suprematist technicolor.
It's Nature turned into a machine, detached from the natural cycles of time and geography — in other words, detached from itself — re-landscaped here to service a $40 billion global flower industry.
Once harvested the flowers will embark on a whirlwind journey. They will pass through greenhouses, cutting rooms, auction houses and conveyor belts — in fact, through a massive industrial complex not unlike the gargantuan automobile assembly plants of the Big Three — before then being loaded on to trucks and cargo planes, enlarging their carbon footprint en route to points elsewhere, where they may be placed in quarantine spaces by customs officials with other flowers similarly displaced from other growing regions till they are finally allowed to continue on to neighborhood flower shops and awaiting mothers.
Unnaturally but beautifully assembled bouquets as mobile landscapes.