This artistic provocation seeks to estimate the orders of magnitude of critical ecosystem services fundamental to all planetary life processes. It is common to describe our relationships with society, the world, and the biosphere with metaphors from economics, which has specific understandings of value. Today’s prevailing economics conventions are unable to recognize intrinsic value of the ecosystems on which all life depends. In cultures overdetermined by concepts from economics, we are left without adequate discursive instruments to socially or politically address the importance of ecosystem contributions to life on Earth.
This experiment consists of 1 square meter of wheat, cultivated in a closed environment. Critical inputs such as water, light, heat, and nutrients are measured, monitored and displayed for the public. This procedure makes palpable the immense scale of ecosystem contributions, and provides a speculative reference for a reckoning of the undervalued and over-exploited “work of the biosphere”.