Aug 2007

Living with invasives

Lately I have been thinking more about the concept of invasives. On one level this work is concretely about clearing an area of Carpenter's Woods from the invasive pants of Japanese Knotweed and English Ivy. The paper trees will stand and disintegrate in the cleared area and, in the spring, we will try to return the balance of that area to native plants, especially oak trees.

After accompanying my husband home from a medical appointment yesterday, I made the leap of understanding cancer as an invasive on the cellular level. Some invasives you can learn to live with. Others not so much. Despite excellent care my husband's "invasive" may be gaining ground, much to our dismay. However, in our small neighborhood park, GROVE will attempt to see if we can find a way to keep up with the invasive plants by replacing them with native species and tending them carefully. In our park we are learning what plants we can live with and what plants we need to replace. In the weeks and months to come we will continue to try and discourage the growth of my husband's invasive as well. Unfortunately as all gardeners know, some plants can be discouraged from returning and others are impossible to beat back.


Heat and work

I am still in the studio making trees. It has been so hot that the wet trees are baking in between studio sessions and each tree is a struggle. When the trees dry on hot humid days they dry floppy and need a stiffening layer of pulp laid on by hand. This extra layer is time consuming and backbreaking. 95 degree days in the studio leave me exhausted and confused. After work and in need of solace I have been drawn to the peace and quiet of the future site of GROVE in Carpenter's Woods. Even when it is buggy and humid, visiting the site renews my faith in the project. This morning it was cool and dry and I took my video camera to the site to make this week's movie.

Four weeks out from a show means there is lots to do. On Friday I visited the Media Bureau with Simon Rogers, a very talented and kind young person who is generously helping me with the sound. We have decided to focus in on eight minutes in order to project uncompressed video for its clarity and beauty. His ideas for an accompanying sound piece are brilliant. I am honored to have his help. On our way downtown I tried, using my reasonably good imitation of an insane and driven artist, to explain GROVE to him with all its layers and complexities, history and philosophy. On our way home he turned to me and using one simple word explained Part 1 back to me. "It's about change", he said.

So, beginning with change, here is a partial list of single words that describe GROVE: paper, trees, light, sound, change, perception, consciousness, loss, attachment, grief, decay, disintegration, death, invasive plants, forest, recycling, oaks, birds, community, planting, tending, harvesting, and papermaking.