Strange Vegetation grows an ecological system out of the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum’s unique decorative interior. It is a site-specific installation incorporated with the repeated pattern of exotic greenery and floral iron work on the walls around it. Here, a system of physically interconnected and identical plant-like forms project, as bulbous roots, from the floor. Their stalks reach from below painted skirting to the wallpaper above. Over a dozen of these large latex volumes slowly breathe in and out, an inflation and deflation cycle that gradually distorts each form.
Strange Vegetation germinates and mutates the wallpaper’s images into living and breathing things; where paint and wallpaper meet becomes the ground from which foliage sprouts; and these inflated volumes interweave with one another and the implied life of the cultural institution.
The Villa Terrace is intended to accumulate and preserve the products of human time. Strange Vegetation, then, thinks beyond this lifecycle – in Earth time. It is a fantastical organism that uses the museum as a seed, transforming it from space, to habitat, to ecosystem in an imagined future. Strange Vegetation suggests that all built environments are (a) vibrant matter with the capacity for their own movement, change and agency over time.
Strange Vegetation is made in collaboration with Nathaniel Stern
Production Team: Bryan Cera, Erik Darbo, Caitlin Driver, Rachel Kedinger
Photography: Naomi Shersty
Special thanks to: Mike Bray, Jim Charles, Lucy Derickson, Frankie Flood, Kevin Giese, Joe Grennier, Jennifer Johung, Konstantin Kaganovich, Irina Kordish, Kevin Martin, Martha Monroe and Nicole Ridgway
Materials: latex, Plexiglass, air compressor, arduino prototyping platform, relays and diodes, solenoid valves, ball valves, servo motors, computer and custom-built software
25 images, 2011