Artist Enlists an Army to Dissect 10,000 Roses at the Bell Labs Holmdel Complex

Sarah Meyohas will document the dissection of 10,000 roses.

The Bell Labs Holmdel Complex. Courtesy of Sarah Meyohas.
The Bell Labs Holmdel Complex. Courtesy of Sarah Meyohas.

On Friday, July 29, Sarah Meyohas, of Bitchcoin fame, announced her next monumental undertaking, titled Roses at Bell. At the end of August, the young artist will take over the Eero Saarinen-designed Bell Labs Holmdel Complex in New Jersey with a multi-day installation that enlists an army of paid laborers to document their dissection of 10,000 roses.

The workers, stationed individually on the floor of the complex’s atrium, will be put to work, removing and photographing every petal from each of the roses, which will include numerous different colors and varieties.

The performance piece is in part a poetic homage to the revolutionary information and technology (think cellphones and wireless internet) that was produced at the once-unparalleled research and development laboratory. The project, which will result in a sizable digital data set based on the workers’ selection of the petals they deem most beautiful, remains open-ended in terms of its application.

As stated by the press release, “Perhaps the 200,000+ images could be used to create unique new digital petals by interpolation, or perhaps machine learning can reveal conclusions about beauty. The field of critical interpretation is open.” Only time will tell what Meyohas plans to do with the fruits of her ephemeral work.

Aerial view of the Bell Labs Holmdel Complex. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Aerial view of the Bell Labs Holmdel Complex. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

While a film team will shoot the majority of the time, Meyohas promises to open the once-in-a-lifetime work to the public on August 27. In the fall, Bell Labs will be converted into an office building by owner Somerset Development—meaning this is the last opportunity to see the building in its abandoned, raw state.


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