“Exquisite complex beings in their energy webs inhabiting the fertile corners of the urban world in accord with the rules of wild systems, the visible hardy stalks and stems of vacant lots and railroads, the persistent raccoon squads, bacteria in the loam and in our yogurt… Civilization is permeable, and could be as inhabited as the wild is. “ – Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild
“Weed: a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As an intervention into the lawn of Washington Park, I would like to allow the grass and weeds to grow freely within a confined shape of a 12-pointed star, approximately 10 feet in diameter. I choose this geometric shape as a nod to the aesthetic conventions of ornamental gardens. Over the course of the exhibition, as the plant-life within this region grows, the star shape will become more and more defined.
I am interested in interrogating conventions of public landscaping. What forms and species of vegetation do we consider to be beautiful, useful, and wholesome? Although we normally value lawns in a public space, a lawn is in fact a monoculture. It reduces biodiversity and interrupts local ecological balance. There is evidence that allowing a lawn to convert itself into woodlawn is better for the environment, decreasing storm-water runoff and lessening the need for watering. In Philadelphia, Going Green or Growing Wild? By Anne Raver – July 20, 2011 – New York Times
INSTALLATION PLANS & LOGISTICS:
At first I will mark off the 12-pointed star shape with wooden stakes and string. I will visit regularly to clip the area directly around the border. Once the grass and weeds grow tall enough so that the shape is clearly visible, I will be able to remove the string and stakes.
At the end of the exhibition, I will work in consultation with the landscaping crew to bring the site back to its original condition.