Cogito ergo Pisum – A human gray pea ecology


Timo is the name of a human - and a gray pea. Timo is with pea.

The pea becomes Timo.The gray pea Timo is a humble key plant within the project Cogito ergo Pisum: "I think, therefore Pea". But how can we think with the pea?


The Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel discovered genetics and Mendelian inheritance named after him; the first theory of how characteristics are inherited. Between 1856 and 1863 he experimented with nearly 29,000 pea plants (Pisum sativum), and presented the results in Versuche über Pflanzenhybriden (external link). His discoveries fell into oblivion for almost 50 years, until rediscovered and confirmed in 1900.


Cogito ergo Pisum is based on horizontal gene transfer. Man as a species may have survived and evolved with DNA from the plant kingdom. What kind of symbolic or symbiotic actions can give back, give away or even give up humans as a species? Timo participates in the project with himself as a substance, as darkly cultured genetic material. The pea Timo already exists but is becoming with – Timo!


Timo is transformed into a floating signifier, a term coined by Claude Lévi-Strauss, denoting  signifiers without a referent, such as a word that points to no actual object and has no agreed upon meaning.

Photo Credit: NordGen NGB4018 Timo; Part of the installation "Cogito ergo Pisum" at Group show

Där Världen Kallas Skog at Köttinspektionen, Uppsala, 2019 © 2019 Timo Menke