Artist Diana Scherer is selected by the jury of the 2016 New Material Award as the New Material Fellow. For the next six months Het Nieuwe Instituut will support Scherer as she develops her research project further. This support can take various forms: providing access to a network of contacts, interdisciplinary reflection, presentations and a publication. Scherer was awarded the fellowship for her Interwoven project, in which she manipulates plant root systems to create a textile-like material.
Diana Scherer works with wheat, and specifically this crop’s fast-growing root system. By growing the wheat on a subterranean template, she can manipulate the root system to create ‘woven’ patterns. The form of the textile-like material she cultivates is dictated by a 3D-printed template. Seed, soil and water are the only necessary ingredients for the process. When the roots have grown into the desired pattern, Scherer harvests the crop. She cuts the wheat down and dries the root structure. The photographs she takes of the resulting textiles are an integral part of her working process, but she also preserves the actual materials.
Together with botanist Gerard van der Weerden (Radboud University), Scherer is exploring the possibility of growing complete items of clothing underground. As a subsequent step, she will attempt to eliminate soil from the process by using hydroculture to grow the roots.
Diana Scherer studied fine art and photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. Her work has been published in, among others, Capricious, Exit and Wired Magazine and was recently exhibited at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, the Himalayas Museum in Shanghai and at Korogram in Seoul. She was awarded a fellowship by Het Nieuwe Instituut during the New Material Award 2016.