Allochronic Cycles
Allochronic Cycles: 2020-present

“Allochronic Cycles” is based on the research of plant biologist Joanne Chory at the Salk Institute and was developed in part in a residency at Coalesce Center for Biological Arts, where Cesar & Lois looked closely at lichens with resident biologist Solon Morse.

In the development of Allochronic Cycles, Cesar & Lois dissects time, seeking to decode the temporal perspectives of disparate species such as Arabidopsis and Lichens. This transdisciplinary journey has taken Cesar & Lois across layers of time and into the timescales of the accelerated lives of viruses to the growth of plants to the age-defying progress of the cosmos. This journey began in the laboratory of Dr. Joanne Chory at Salk Institute, where she and several scientists walked the artists through the lab’s research on the Arabidopsis plant. The project development coincides with the global advance of a pathogenic virus, which inescapably has influenced the artists’ thinking about living cycles.

from plant research to pigments
Arabidopsis in Dr. Chory’s lab at Salk Institute (left); specimens and pigments by Cesar & Lois

Joanne Chory studies the internal clock of what to all appearances is an ordinary plant. Her breakthrough discovery revealed that, in the plant’s first twenty-four hours, the plant protein Auxin signals Arabidopsis to grow in a specific way in response to light exposure. In this way, one day codes the plant’s architecture for its entire lifespan, determining how much carbon the plant is capable of absorbing.

Pigments sourced in the environment
“How do we, in our very fast evolution, relate to the rest of the world?”
– Joanne Chory, in conversation with the artists (September 24, 2019)

In response to this conversation and during a residency at Coalesce Center for Biological Arts at University at Buffalo, Cesar & Lois observed different levels and layers of nature. The artists archive and distill plant specimens from their environment, which are ground into pigments and embedded into the time cycle of the cosmos.

Cosmos disk
The disk of the Cosmos in Allochronic Cycles