All the Avocados That I Have Eaten in One Year
Avocado plants are social beings. I became aware of this when I moved into my new apartment after a breakup in 2022. They don‘t like to be alone, we share this commonality. Furthermore, they, like me, carry feminine pronouns – and consume too many resources to be considered environmentally friendly. In that aspect, we are similar too. They are too needy to be considered independent, unfortunately.
Whenever I‘m away for more than three days, I need to find someone to take care of them.
I gave each seed I acquired with the fruit over the past year the opportunity to grow into a plant. This, in itself, is not particularly resource efficient. The resource demand multiplies because avocados require a lot, although they are not difficult to germinate.
Indeed, endings can be beginnings. It just takes some water and a lot of patience.
Needless to say, each seed carries different potential within. However, it‘s surprising to see how different they all are. Some grow straight, some crooked, some curved. Often, several shoots sprout from a single seed, as if they refuse to be alone at any cost. Some seeds yield nothing. Some shoots grow distinctive speckled leaves. Some have tough leaves, others have soft ones. Some are narrow, others are round. They are sensitive to their environment. If the location or lighting changes, they respond by altering their growth, their strategy.
It‘s worth looking closely.
We share intimate moments. When I water them, I hear their leaves rustle, almost imperceptibly, out of pleasure and greed. Avocados are delicate beings. Moisture evaporates quickly from their large green leaf surfaces, which are easily damaged by sunlight. And even though they do not tolerate direct sun, they yearn for infinite brightness.
Repotting is a special occasion for both the avocados and me, a moment of dialogue.
I ask, how are you doing? I address them in German using the informal form of address. They respond by revealing their roots. Their roots are delicate but robust, crisp, and vulnerable. With my clumsiness and hurried movements, I easily break something off. This is especially tricky when the root has just started and hasn‘t branched yet. Then, with a snapping sound, it‘s all over. At times, the roots have grown through the holes in the pot, when it has become too small. Then it requires finesse to get them out without causing damage. Perhaps working on the roots is as unpleasant for avocado plants, for plants in general, as a dental visit is for us – or perhaps not.
I gently but firmly touch the leaves, trying to be fully conscious of the contact. I can sense the energy flowing between us. Does it arise from our resemblance?
Ayumi Rahn, 2023
Ayumi Rahn has grown plants from the avocado seeds of all the avocados she consumed over the past year. They have now become individual protagonists in an artwork, showcasing their different stages of growth, some several centimeters tall, others just sprouting from the seed, and varied shapes. Alongside a personal text, Rahn aims to draw attention to the moment when the avocado transitions from being a fruit to a new life as a plant, inviting contemplation on the connection between consumption and the cycles of nature.
Just as avocado plants require many resources to thrive—water, sunlight, nutrients from the soil—we, as humans, also depend on a variety of resources and face the challenge of utilizing and renewing these resources sustainably to achieve a balance between our lifestyle and the preservation of nature's continuity.
Instead of consuming the avocado and ending its existence, the act of consumption marks a point of transformation. From the seed emerges a plant that symbolizes a new life cycle. This not only encourages reflection on our resource consumption and making conscious decisions for a more sustainable future. It demonstrates that as individuals, we have the opportunity to recognize moments of change and support the potential for renewal.
Ausstellungsansichten, Pflanzenblindheit, Stockwerk projects, Weimar, 2023