Willows, glorious, enourmous and flowering in Christchurch’s parks.
The south island of New Zealand, proud and cold, rich and wet.
Temperate botany faring well amongst a disrupted environment, changed irreversibly by the latest wave of colonisers, who brought along scores of species known to you.
Sparrows and Blackbirds everywhere, Oak and Ash would turn so amazing in the Autumn, when the imported decidous burst in colours.
You visit the botanic gardens regularly in the morning, just before going to the local City gallery to install Fiona Hall’s artistic ventures into nature.
Clover, Plantain, Sheperd’s purse and Dandelions look as healthy as in Europe, where they’re from.
You get reminded over and over again of the work of two germans artists, iriz-a-maz, who travelled recently to Sydney to further their ongoin investigation of trans-national botany, drawing parallels between the shifting of goods, population and plants, as human expand and loop around the world.
You also had chanche to visit 2008 Scape, Christchurch Biennial of art in public space, and were impressed.
The breath of scope was so refreshing, interventions spanned from the everpresent ‘plonk art’ (art which comes from a truck, gets deposited by a crane and could have been deposited anywhere else for that matter; usually it require an enourmous amount of bronze and/or stainless steel to produce)
to the launch of a new apple strand as a reflection on â€œwhat it means to be an artist in an age of rampant capitalismâ€; from laying lights in a river bed (oops, sorry, activated by a sensor) to enclosing sacred statues (James Cook’s) in order to be able to reflect face to face with the icon.
What you really enjoyed was the hermetic slection. All together only 25 artist where invited, allowing the available budget to foster some substantial contribution, rather then spreading it thin across an ambitious selection without providing enough support to install anything at all.
But hey, you just came as a turist, and you are far too familiar with the incredible ability of cultural workers to make miracles happens out of a fake golden eggs duck.
You will relate about Fiona Hall’s in another posting..