Ikum : Drying Temple. Ikum is a living medicinal entity devoted to learning and sharing the blessings of plant medicine. Birthed in the Amazon Forest as an apparatus that nurtures the transformation of plants into dried medicine, Ikum pays reverence to the land to harvest its healing, its holding, its grace. Invoking a long lineage of medicine women, Ikum serves as a place to witness the transformation of plants, the beauty and power of their decay. This echoes the necessity for change with- in ourselves; as we observe the plants ‘states shifting, we con- template the cycle of life, from birth to death and rebirth. Through the process of losing their internal waters, plants release an orchestra of aromas, songs, and tales that can be experienced and reflected upon in contemplation. As one walks under the many leaves, barks, roots, flowers hanging to dry, one may be called by a certain plant, and sit with it or listen to its message. Ikum’s architecture symbolically reflects the unseen microscopic geometries of organisms that help the process of decay in plant material, while the form draws the spine of an ant. Ants represent the power of community, and many are known to collect plants to feed fungi, which in turn provides energy for their community.


IKUM takes its form and materiality directly from nature; the wooden frame of the temple, recycled from structures used in previous exhibitions at Serpentine, is inspired by the form of an ant - an insect that is crucial to the dispersal of seeds and the health of soil. The ‘tensiles’, knitted panels of dyed cotton threads, are stretched onto this frame, casting shadows that resemble swirling leaves. The plant cuttings that are connected to the tensiles have been selected according to the artists’ individual practices - for their medicinal importance in the care of the womb, or in aromatherapy. Over the duration of the exhibition, the plants will dry, releasing their scent and naturally readying themselves for use. A sound-scape emanating from the centre of the structure has been composed as an expression of the interconnectivity between body, energy and earth. Commissioned by Palais de Tokyo, Paris, in collaboration with the Serpentine Galleries, London.


Design Components = Installation Materials :  Dyed cotton Tensiles, Reclaimed Pine Frame, Medicinal Plants, Recycled Plastic


Architectural Function = Observation Space + Space of Emptiness + Community Gathering Space