Katherine Rae Diemert (k.d.rae) is a visual artist based out of Halifax, Canada. She makes art that explores our relationship to the natural and digital worlds. You can reach her at kdiemert@gmail.com

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April 2, 2024

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Katherine Rae Diemert (k.d.rae) is a visual artist based out of Hamilton, Canada. She makes art that explores our relationship to the natural and digital worlds. You can reach her at kdiemert@gmail.com.

The Fool

Spring 2020
Motor mechanism, flower, vase, water, extension cord
Dimensions Variable
Exhibited Online, Factory Media Centre, Hamilton, ON, Canada

The Fool is a moving sculpture turned interactive video piece. A daffodil hangs from a mechanism that slowly moves up and down, briefly dipping the flower’s stem into the cup of water below before lifting it. In the version presented here, the videos show multiple views: the flower in relation to its environment, a close up view of the bottom of its stem and the cup of water, and a button controlling power to the mechanism. At the start of the video a hand reaches out to turn on the button, letting the flower down into the water before switching off. The user (you) then has the option to decide to raise the flower, or to leave it in the water.

︎︎︎A version of the original online interactive piece

This piece came about from my other work with flowers, beginning with Structural Support for Flower, where I created an object meant to hold the head of a drooping tulip. The idea came from a moment of empathy I had with the ailing flower, when I held the head up with my hand. I was inspired by the many different designs for supporting trees and larger plants I had seen, as well as a form I had been drawing and redrawing again and again at the time, one of two cupped hands together. I don’t think this piece itself is quite done yet, but it did inspire other works, including The Fool and Breathing.

The Fool came about while I was continuing to think of supports for flowers, an option of which was to simply remove any pressure at all from the stem and hang the flower with vertical tension. A floating flower was a romantic image, but what would happen, however, if it hung above the water? Immediately upon drawing it, I was struck by how cruel it could be. The line holding the flower up by its bud is a noose. In one version, the mechanism continuously raises and lowers the flower into the water. I imagined the flower drinking enough of the water– or the water eventually evaporating– so that the bottom of the stem cannot reach it. In practise, the flower tends to swing enough that oftentimes the stem leaves the cup and it’s unable to drink. It’s pathetic. But in my mind the character of the flower casts no judgment upon its situation, however, and no judgment on the being that made it so. I guess I don’t think of flowers as judgmental beings.

Flowers seem to be a direct entry into empathy with the natural world. They’re often seen as delicate, especially when amidst snow, thorns, or sidewalks. They’re often smaller than us– we can pluck a flower easily but it’s quite harder to pluck a tree from the ground. Maybe it’s simply because they’re beautiful in our eyes. I’m curious as to what kind of emotional reaction this piece brings you, if you empathise with the flower. Did you consider it cruel? Was it torture, a sadochistic ending to a cut-flower’s life? Did you think of the flower as stupid, because I named it “The Fool”?

The Fool is a card in the Major Arcana of Tarot, first or last in the deck. He’s usually depicted as a young man, a beggar or vagabond, wearing socks sans shoes and carrying a stick. He looks upwards, and fails to notice he’s about to step off a cliff. Upright, the card represents new beginnings, inexperience, beginner's luck, spontaneity, innocence, having faith in the future. Reversed, it indicates naivety, folly, and stupidity.

︎︎︎Details of head of the flower, and the stem hanging above vase filled with water.︎︎︎Sketches exploring concepts and developement


Hand Vase
Laser-cut acrylic
8” x 6” approx.

Prototype for Structural Support for Flower
1.5” x 8” approx.

︎︎︎Wood Prototype holding tulip
︎︎︎Ways to hold, comic
︎︎︎Sketches for development of support

︎    ︎    ︎    ︎AST
︎    ︎    ︎    ︎EST