University of Minnesota

Seed of Knowledge

Seyed Alavi

Seyed Alavi (born 1958, Teheran, Iran)

Seed of Knowledge, 2004

Steel, glass and landscape materials

22 ft. h X 15 ft. d

Location: Outside the Plant Growth Center, Saint Paul campus

I envision this piece as homage to knowledge and the source/ seed of inspiration from which it blooms. Through the analogy of a garden, greenhouse, trees, and seeds, I hope to poetically portray the magical, cyclical relationship that exists between a plant/ tree (that produces/ give birth to seed) and the seed (that contains the complete knowledge of the entire life cycle/growth of a plant within itself). For me this relationship engenders many questions, a few of which are; What is life? What is existence? Where was a tree before it took root, form and shape on this physical plane? What relationship, if any, is there between the visible and the invisible; between life and existence? How do we define growth within the larger framework of existence’? How do we come to know things? How do we come up with “new” ideas in the realm of scientific investigation or art?

My proposal is for a chapel of sorts, a “tree-house” that would manifest as a greenhouse for a single tree. The shape of this house is inspired by the shape of an apple seed, and it will be fabricated out of steel and glass, similar to actual greenhouses. The overall size will be approximately 15’W by 22’H, and will house a tree, which will be one of the many varieties of apple tree such as a crab apple. I also envision that the surrounding landscaping will be based on the fundamental blueprint of growth patterns in plants.

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