Playing around with Whiskey Grass.
One of the first works I did on this residency was with Whiskey Grass. I started using and continued using it because I like the colour and structure of it. This week I have started picking large amounts of it for an idea I have developing. The other day Rae Bolotin – artist and an Artistic Director of BigCi told me Whiskey Grass was a weed and was transported here when it was used for the packaging of American whiskey bottles. Bang, I’m interested!! This hits the spot for me on a few levels…it’s a weed, booze is involved, and the possibility of interesting social history. I start researching and find the info on whiskey grass mostly dry and have difficulty tracing any social history associated with its use for packing whiskey bottles. So I go back to researching more about what exactly a weed is.
A weed: Is a plant not valued for use or beauty, growing wild and rank, and regarded as cumbering the ground or hindering the growth of superior vegetation.
Fascinating, more rejected and discarded material to work with. I then go on to read more and hit on theory about mankind being a weed, initially I find this offensive but contemplate what that means more deeply and consider our impact on the environment, all the vanishing wildlife and endangered species. We then, the most destructive weed when it comes to hindering the ground and growth of other. This research loops back around to my interest in dystopian and apocalyptic imagery and theories.
PLANET OF WEEDS
Tallying the losses of Earth’s animals and plants by David Quammen
(Harper’s Magazine, October 1998)