Linnaeus' flower clock was a garden plan hypothesized by Carl Linnaeus. The clock would take advantage of several plants that open or close their flowers at particular times of the day to accurately indicate the time. The concept builds on the fact that there are species of plants opening or closing their flowers at set times of day. Some plants exhibit a strong circadian rhythm and have been observed to open at quite a regular time.
The flowering times recorded by Linnaeus are also subject to differences in daylight due to latitude: his measurements are based on flowering times in Uppsala, where he was living and teaching. Whether a flower clock was really planted and tested by C. von Linné is contested, however it was attempted by several botanic gardens in the 19th century, with varying degrees of success.
The installation “Who will pollinate the flower clock” was installed first at Mänttä Art Festival in 2021. It featured a selection of flowers endemic to Finland, who follow a circadian rhythm. They were planted to attract pollinators including wild bees, butterflies, beetles and other insects.
By default, the installation is not very precise in telling time, but is to be seen as conversation between species, between plants and insects. The result is a dynamic opening and closing of petals that the human spectator can interpret as measuring time. The time measured, however, is rather an indication of how successful the flower was in being visited and pollinated than a reflection of the hour of the day.
Nonetheless, the installation hints at an urgency. An increase of managed land, resulting in less habitats for a variety of insects that are not economically interesting for humankind.
"Who Will Pollinate the Flower Clock" performs a question. The work is process-focused and is aimed at various multi-species audiences.