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Project Outline

This website will give information and insight into a number of plants, commonly known as weeds, and function as an exchange node for facts and stories.
The aim of this project is to rediscover the traditional knowledge, celebrate the multiplicity of cultures in botanical terms, and learn the legal status of such plants. The framing of “illegal” and unwanted flora within a cultural context will draw attention to the concept of “permissible species” as a social construct. Weeds are defined by a nation's law, and what is declared weed in one place may be a precious resource in another.

One of the central question posed through Environmental Art is the understanding of our human dependency to our surroundings. The way we relate physically and emotionally to a given ecosystem is the core driver of how we feel about it and how much we respect it.
The ethnobotanical knowledge of traditional land custodians is an example of intrinsic symbiosis between humans and other species. One affecting each other.
When it comes to the reality of today’s world population, with ever-increasing migrating patterns from one corner of the earth to the other, in endless loops, ancestral connections get lost in foreign biospheres.
Or are them not?

As an artist and recent migrant from Italy to Australia I started an investigation into lost ethnobotanical connections. The species I -as non-indigenous- relate to are non-natives, most of them are considered weeds, nuisances and even dangerous.

Yet in a time when any feeling of environmental belonging should be fostered in order to create respect and placement, weeds serve a purpose well beyond the mere pioneer plant aspect.



Below is a short presentation of the project, presented at the 2007 UTS CONFERENCE ON COSMOPOLITAN CIVIL SOCIETIES, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.

Weed gathering: ethnobotanical practices in a Cosmopolitan Society


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