ReykjavíkVegetation: Katrín Elvarsdóttir, Lilja Birgisdóttir & Nina Zurier
At the edge of growth, where apple-trees are like crippled bonsais in an over-ambitious garden- at the sore marge of the covering verdure, at the beginning of the desert, the open wound addresses us.
Violet, pink, yellow, and green war-herbs challenge the desolation. Assertive plants that act as an army towards the enemies of our bodies. They’ll wreak havoc if they’re not challenged themselves and allowed to go on. Or what?
The herbs can maybe heal the situation. Bearberry is a stubborn one, but not so radical that it threatens the biological diversity of our flora, nevertheless keeping the earth in place. The crushed berries were said to keep ghosts away and strengthen our renal systems. But the black lymph was also known to aggravate the black bile. Out of bearberry, they used to make ink to write away melancholy. This antidote-way of thinking is an undercurrent in our history. What an interesting link between herbs, urinary tracts, and literature!
Les fleurs du mal. The Flowers of Evil. The forceful flowers. How difficult it would be to map all the flowers of evil. As well as our relationships to those flowers, and their extermination. The map would constantly change, due to hard-working city-workers plucking the evil out of every garden. And goodness, all the poison that we pour on those poor herbs that are historically known as alternative medicine.
It’s surely tempting for kids to wander outside of the garden fence, let themselves disappear into the forest. Look for clearing and stay there in calm and play. But there are beautiful, yet dangerous wildflowers, pink, yellow, green, and white. How lovely to ornate oneself with them in a ceremony of marriage, dancing on a red mushroom with white dots. That moment of joy will remain in the body. Alongside a scolding moment: How dare you disappear? How dangerous!
Memories of ambivalent feelings. Purple memories of intimacy. Then black and colorful and white. We’ll remake those moments with our scissors, photo-paper, ink, glue, and colors. We near ourselves to the core of the experience, when we in joyful play forgot ourselves. We try remembering by radiographing the vegetation, light it up, get inside it. Leaving the shame. There was no evil in us, and no evil belonged to the flowers. Little by little, we’ll thus illuminate our memories.
Surrounding ourselves with plants that remind us of that place where we found ourselves in rare relation to our surroundings. Experimenting with our own pseudo-landscape that can shelter us while our wounds heal. It’s an attempt to attest limitations.
We’ll find refuge in a distant banana-leaf-house. Create shelter from the erosion, under the ambiance of banana-leaf sounds. Colors that don’t exist in our vegetation become a part of our landscape anyway. But oh, the monkey in our glass-house gets sick when the only local banana-tree breaks in an earthquake. How vulnerable our plans!
At the speed of light, we receive new information from our open wounds. The reception rather slow, even though we tune up our wi-fi. Try biomimicry, try photosynthesizing? Are we getting it right about the importance of the wet-lands? And the urgency of dandelions? The upheaval of crazy flowers? What? Stop organizing our landscapes? Only to enter chaos?
And a message from the Tibetan Chögyam Trungpa: The essence of crazy wisdom is that you have no strategized programs or ideals at all. You are just open… This turns out to be a scientific approach in the sense that openness is in constant contact with nature’s elements.
(Crazy Wisdom, Seminar 1).
Ok, thank you, sir, if we allow the elements to play, the verdure to lead us, would there be drawn up new growth-maps based on something other than encroachment? Based on the destruction of verdure in one place and the flourishing of another, transplanting, fringing. If similarly ambitious roadmaps of our feelings towards different plants in the world existed. Emotions based on our collective ancestry and subconscious, as well as our personal experiences and trauma.
Let us start by drawing a picture of our wounds and verdure? Of our intimate relations to growth and the herbal ambivalence?
-Oddný Eir Ævarsdóttir
all images © the gallery and the artist(s)