Makoto Azuma Plunges Bonsai into the Depths of the Sea

For the past several years, Japanese botanical artist Makoto Azuma has been experimenting with flowers in a way that delicately balances the natural and unnatural. For his ongoing series “Bloom” he’s launched bouquets of flowers into space and floated them in the middle of the sea. But the artist, whose work often deals with the ephemeral nature of his subject matter, has frozen flowers in blocks of ice and placed them at the center of decommissioned power plants. His latest endeavor was to plunge bouquets and a bonsai into the least explored part of this planet: the bottom of the sea.

Three years of planning – both in building equipment and obtaining government permits – came to fruition this summer when, in late August, Azuma sailed out into the Suruga bay. His team of 15 proceeded to plunge 4 exquisite bouquets of flowers and one bonsai 2000 meters, or a little more than 1 mile, down to the sea floor. Each plant was secured in the center of a steel-infused plastic frame that was also equipped with lights and photographic equipment.

“In contrast to the bright summer daylight at the foot of Mount Fuji, the flowers will be swallowed
slowly into the darkness, where not a single ray of light shines,” said the artist. It’s said that only 5% of the earth’s sea floors have been mapped, and for good reason. The intense water pressure and lack of any light or oxygen makes it one of the most harshest environments on earth.  But that is what makes Azuma’s flowers all the more beautiful as they stand in stark contrast with the depths of the sea and the mysterious sea creatures that have come to observe this alien life form.

1 Comment

  1. Daniel E. Levenson

    September 23, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Very cool project – I love the concept of bringing something terrestrial and placing it in the depths of the sea. It’s almost the opposite of an aquarium, instead of taking the sand, water and living things from the ocean and keeping them in a glass box on the land you’re taking something that lives on the land and placing it underwater. Is there a next phase to this project ? Will the artist be documenting the breakdown of the plants, or is the idea to place them in the cold darkness and let nature take its course, unseen ?

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