6 Aralık 2010 Pazartesi

on Agoraphobic Plant Collector

at the beginning of this project I had a bunch of picture taken at my mother's home, detailing all the objects with floral designs on them. She likes to adorn the house like an artificial, indoor garden; representations of nature, especially flowers are everywhere, they are on carpets, tablecloths, curtains, bric-a-bracs. and there are some potted living plants as well, that she looks after, and some fake flowers that I occasionally throw into bin, unbeknown to her. And on the other hand, she does not like the idea of cut flowers rotting in the vase. For her they are waste of money.

(I dont know where it does come from, but we have a tendency to go for fake, artificial things, that looks like something but not exactly the original thing, the real thing, a kind of looking for substitutes rather than the real one. Sometimes related with lack, going for substitutes. but the topic is not that at the moment, so I will try to go back on track)

The highly ornamental, floral twin Persian carpets in the house are the crystallisation of this preference.It is one of those eastern carpets, that represent paradise, the eternal spring. an oriental rug representing the Garden of Paradise in the middle of a house seems to support the associations of home with rest and peace.

For the piece “Agoraphobic Plant Collector”, I used a display cabinet in the college, and played with the ideas of curiosity cabinets, turning the “garden” in my family home into a subject of botanical study. Obviously there is a sharp contrast between a home garden in this sense, and scientific study of botanical study.
And I was trying to understand this tendency to adorn the house with representations of anonymous nature specimens through looking at this contrast, through a twisted lens or better put through an inappropriate language. trying to look at these two perspectives through one another.

I tried to identify the original flowers, their equivalance in real life, through some pencil drawings, first. I was trying to extract a realistic representations of these flowers on the carpet, as does botanical illustrations with real plants.

Botanical illustrations dissects the plant, represent it as realistically as possible, in a sense, maps the plant and the geography it is coming from. Those illustrations were once considered as reliable resources to prove the existence of species. The other forms of proof were the specimen itself, or ...I dont remember the third, I should check my notebook I was using when I visited British museum. Well, the point is, that botanical illustrations were reliable sources to depend on, to prove the existence of a specimen. They were that real.

Interestingly, botanical gardens, as places of encounter with the exotic species, as artificial homes for the flora of faraway lands were also associated with idea of Garden of Eden at its early stages.
Throughout the middle ages the Garden (of Eden) was believed, somehow, to have survived the Flood, and in the great age of geographical discoveries in the fifteenth century, navigators and explorers had hopes of finding it. When it turned out that neither East nor West Indies contained the Garden of Eden, men began to think, instead, in terms of bringing the scattered pieces of the creation together into a Botanic Garden, or new Garden of Eden" (Prest, 1981, p.9).
Beyond this more theological explanation, the practice of botanical gardens and botanical illustration is representative of the age of discoveries, of Enlightenment in the western civilisation. The transported species of flora from far away countries brought to European centres and kept in botanical gardens, under artificial living conditions suiting to the needs of the plants. In terms of the audience at the centre, it meant encountering with difference and a spectacle to enjoy those eccentric, exotic worlds and all within the very safe and tame boundaries of the home/land.

Another strand of my research for this project was to look at idea of garden and gardening, on the origins of gardening, domesticating a piece of nature, and why we developed such a habit. The earliest and most famous garden to date is The Hanging Garden's of Babylon, which was allegedly built to relieve homesickness of Amyitis, the wife of King Nebuchadnezzar.
"...Amyitis, daughter of the king Medes who seems to have had a passion for mountainous surroundings. Babylon's flat desert-like landscape made her pine for the mountains of Media where she was brought up. So the king decided to build an artificial, terraced hill lushly cultivated with trees and flowering plants."

For further investigation:

-The emphasis on the homesickness in the story...
-the potted plants at home, home as a greenhouse, hot house.
the routine chore of the plant grooming: watering, wipeing the leafs, picking rotten leaves, changing the soils once a year, and changing the location of the plants, depending whether they like their place, the position of the sun, the wind, the conditions.
-greenhouses, hot houses, pineries, orangeries were developed to grow exotic species (back at that time) and became more prevalent as the time passes.
-gardening as the act of controlling the uncontrollable as r. Parker puts it.

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