On PHOTO-SYNTHESIS and the ephemeral art of nature


Ana Wojak is completing a residency at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney, a year-long immersion in the oldest garden of Australia.
See here the online journal.

The historic and cultural implications of the site are enormous and Ana is remarkably taking them all in, from the aspect of the botanical floodgate which opened the doors to plants like Lantana and Schotch Thistle, to issues of colonialism and post colonialism.

The resulting ephemeral installations made of found organic material within the Garden, speak of human interaction with the environment and the role of introduced humans to the shaping of Australia bio-diversity underlined by the ever present post-colonial guilt.

You enjoyed most the writings in the artist’s online account of the project, where the subtle signifiers come to life and get expanded.
The volatile installations are lost within the plants, consciously so, making them purposely whimsical and changeable, in an attempt to mimic the changeability of the environment, emulating the un-avoidability of the nature’s cycles.
Botanical -and in a lateral way, human- being sprout, grow, die and disappear back in the dirt to make room and give substance to new births.

Acknowledging the inevitability of the natural cycle of life and death seem a core element of the project, yet when it gets applied to issues of indigenous Australian presence a sad and somewhat romantic discourse appear (see the Numi intervention), where post-colonial guilt forcibly acknowledge the importance of past humans interaction with the landscape, attempting acknowledgement of still present relevance.

Read below the artist introduction to the project.



Photo-Synthesis Project
The word photosynthesis describes the process whereby plants create energy from sunlight & green chlorophyll. This project echoes that alchemy, by creating art that is made from, and interacts directly with, nature.

With this residency I am creating ongoing, site-specific installations throughout the Royal Botanic Gardens, using the materials provides by the plants themselves. By utilizing what is available at any given time, these works explore and interpret the many cycles within cycles of plant life. There is the greater cycle of the life of a tree, the flow of seasons, the growth, the flowerings, the falling of seed, the decay, the growth. Ever changing light also interacts with the installations, illuminating them at different times of day and season. By being site-specific these works are also a reflection of the land & its history.

Ephemeral art works are appearing in the Gardens over the course of the year to surprise, intrigue, & engage visitors. Being temporary, these will come and go: some may stay for months, some may only last a day.

This residency will culminate in a month long exhibition in the Palmhouse, followed by 2 months in Red Box Gallery, to take place in early 2008.

About info

Diego Bonetto is a multimedia artist living and practicing in Sydney, Australia, and is a key member of artists' collectives SquatSpace and the BigFAGPress. -The SquatSpace collective has been producing ground-breaking events and projects since 2000. The group has been curated in a number of shows both in Australia and overseas. The current initiatives, the Redfern-Waterloo Tour of beauty (www.squatspace.com/redfern) tackle issues of social representation and the politics of space generated by gentrification. -The BigFagPress (BFP) is a publishing facility housed in Wooloomooloo, Sydney. The BFP is a salvaged 4-tonnes Off-set proof press. The press allows for the creation of countless artworks by keen printmakers and self-started publishers. www.bigfagpress.org Diego has also been working with WeedyConnection, an environmental art campaign. The project involves an online resource (www.weedyconnection.com), short documentary films, cooking shows, blogs, installations, prints, facebook interventions and various site-specific installations in the form of self-guided tours. WeedyConnection tackle the anthropocentric view of what environment should look like. Based on research and data provided by disciplines as far apart as biology, anthropology, paloenthology, social ecology and ethno botany it formulates ethical questions about cultural representation in times of environmental urgency.
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