Inspiration + Links for an Upcoming Project

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Nina Katchedourian – Geneology of the Supermarket

“The Genealogy of the Supermarket interrelates people who appear on common products in the grocery store and organizes them so that they appear to be members of one large family.”

“A “world view” of extreme and almost paranoid interconnectedness emerges. As with many of my map works and chart pieces, the project seems to suggest some underlying coherent research or guiding principal, but the piece ultimately speaks more about taxonomy itself.” — source

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Parallel Botany by Leo Leonni

“On the other side of the hedge, however, reality is ours. It is the absolute condition of all existence. The plants that grow there are real because we want them to be. If we find them intact in our memories, the same as when we saw them before, it is because we have invested them with the image that we have of them, with the opaque skin of our own confirmation… Motionless, imperishable, isolated in an imaginary void, they seem to throw out a challenge to the ecological vortex that surrounds them….

“There are plants, for instance, that appear clearly in photographs but are imperceptible to the naked eye. Some violate the normal rules of perspective, looking the same size however close or far they may be from us. Others are colorless, but under certain conditions reveal a profusion of colors of exceptional beauty. One of them has leaves with such a tangled maze of veins that it caused the extinction of a voracious insect that at one time had threatened the vegetation of an entire continent…

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Brandon Keim: Thoughts on Taxidermy, Fashion & Bighorn Sheep

“There are at least two distinct currents to this mainstreaming of naturalia. Label one the Nineteenth Century Explorer: Spiced with steampunk, evoking an age of mannered discovery, gentleman adventurers launching expeditions and returning with tales to delight drawing-room crowds. A spirit of mechanical marvels and curiosity cabinets, maps drawn well but incompletely, of biological ephemera and naturalists’ drawings…..

“…..A psychic escape from the pervasive sense that no space on our map remains blank, that civilization has filled its container and is pushing back inwards. A need for nature in denaturalized lives…..Or maybe the meaning is not so dark. Maybe naturalia frames emerging appreciations of urban and suburban ecologies, or a sense of new, as-yet-unfilled maps arising in digital and social space, freed from old topographies.”

“…..A sign, a signifier, a t-shirt drawing of a deer based on an image found in the first page of Google’s image search. And I can’t shake the feeling that naturalia debases nature, turns animals into objects, renders our beautiful, extraordinary living world and its inhabitants as aesthetic commodities with no more or less meaning than paisley or a bright colorway. It’s life as accessory.”

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From Celestial Empire of Benevolent Knowledge, an essay by Jorge Luis Borges:

“The oriental tome organises animals into categories thus: (a) belonging to the emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.”

Notes from Art and Environmentalism Panel @ Drew

I greatly enjoyed yesterday’s syposium  at Drew University, organized by Valerie Hegarty. Here are some notes on the final 2 speakers:

 

David Brooks:

“To think in terms of millions of years in the present moment”

“Citizen Science”

Witnessing large dynamics that happen outside of viewshed = what art can do

“Environmentalist Hangover”

“Traces of Real Life Lived”

 

Ideas of Wilderness

Biblical – Where the infidels live

Romantic – Welcomed/fearful infinity of the sublime

American – Manifest Destiny

Garden of Eden to Harvest & Industrial Progress

Proof of God / God’s Cathedrals

Science – Finite / Stewardship

 

 

Natalie Jeremijenko

“Redesign our relationship to natural systems”

Salamander Road of Death in NJ

“Shared Public Memory of a Possible Future”

“Weird Engagement w/ Natural Systems”

The Tree that Owns Itself

Trees as Landlords: TREExOFFICE

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Waste(lands) / Junk(space)

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“The Wild, Secret Life of New York City” by Brandon Keim

“We are in the habit of seeing untended nature as a sort of blankness, awaiting human work to fill it. It’s right there in the name: vacant lot. A place where spontaneous life is invisible, or at best considered so many weeds, the term used to lump together and dismiss what thrives in spite of our preferences.”

 

This Is Criminal Podcast: “He’s Neutral”

About a traffic island turned dump turned Buddhist shrine….

“Dan Stevenson has lived in Oakland’s Eastlake neighborhood for 40 years. He says crime has been an issue for as long as he can remember, but he isn’t one to call the police on drug dealers or sex workers. He’s a pretty “live and let live” kind of guy. Or he was. Before he finally got fed up and took matters into his own hands.”

 

Producing Waste / Producing Space event at Princeton

“This symposium brings together scholars engaging in innovative research on the origins, meanings and repercussions of waste landscapes in conversation with artists and architects conducting design research and interventions in spaces designated as waste or wasted.”

Trade

I recently traded my Window Plants book to Christina Kelly for her fascinating and informative book: A Field Guide to Office Plants.

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A Field Guide for Office Plants is the story of a bored office worker who — after an encounter with the neglected plant in the reception area — is motivated to waste company time by covertly researching the fascinating botanical and social history of the office plant. 2014.  71 pages. 6″ x 6″. With original illustrations and photos.

Each copy is hand stamped and perfect bound inside an office file folder. “

Photoshop

I usually use Photoshop to make sketches for proposals, and I enjoy some of the in process views. Here are some screenshots….

The top two photos are from when I was making the sketch in the previous post. I found images of weeds online and pasted them into the file before shrinking them down, erasing the background, and integrating them into the image. But just when I press paste, they look like billboards and oversized jungle plants.

The two photos below that show my process for Herbarium. I took photos of real weeds laid on white paper. In order to increase the image resolution for the entire plant (so that I could blow them up big without becoming too grainy), I took multpile close-up shots and stitched them together in Photoshop. I then color-corrected and erased the background, and imported the file into Illustrator in order to tile the print across standard size paper so I could create the entire thing with my cheapo desktop inkjet.

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#DrewNewGrowth

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I deinstalled my sculptures from Drew University a couple of weeks ago. It was wonderful to have these pieces at my alma mater, the University in the Forest! Thanks to Kim Rhodes for coordinating the whole effort and surrounding events (panel, class visits, publications, and this instagram campaign!) Thanks to Stephanie in the facilities department and her crew for such a smooth deinstall. Thanks to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for funding the program.

These babies are now tucked in for the winter in my storage shed, although a select few of the evergreen variety may be making an appearance in my home for Christmas.

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Herbarium

Here are some snapshots of my project for In-Site, including a few of the installation process. These are all enlarged images of weeds from South Orange, wheatpasted onto nearby buildings. Will be editing documentation soon!

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