Sunday, October 21, 2007

comBATTONS; a local intervention using life cycle and seed


photo by Marc Vincent

I just recently installed a large grass tapestry outdoors beneath a city viaduct in Montreal on an abandoned lot occupied by an artist-run centre named Dare-Dare ( It was composed of a patchwork of burlap coffee bags and wheat berries.

The germinated wheat berries first grew flat indoors as wheat grass upon the material surface for a period of 11days. The entire tapestry was then relocated and installed upright upon a wooden structure, suspended from a large metal dowel. This new phase of it being stretched as a canvas was one of drying, as it was treated by sun and wind. As I write this, it blows in the wild wind that rushes under the viaduct at full force. It is my intention for it to become weathered. I imagine the piece will take many forms as the weather conditions interact with it, and it changes from week to week.

This was a first for me in terms of public installation. It was certainly my first serious interaction artistically with the wind, as well as my first creation and execution of something so massive and guided by the life cycle, which is something I am becoming increasingly enthusiastic about. Working with plants in the beginning stages of life and following them through to their demise and decomposition is fulfilling to me because I am not separated from my work, but am physically connected to it and to the life (and creative) cycle itself. The life of the plants become my daily priority. By caretaking, I participate in the growth of the plants and allow them to flourish, witnessing their daily evolution. Throughout this process of listening I learn what needs to be done. Like gardening, the plants show signs to me of health or non health and I have to treat them accordingly. It is a relationship that evolves over time, and one that grows with understanding. I am interested in this relationship of flux, depending on what the needs of each day call for.

photo by Marc Vincent

Once my tapestry was outdoors, the natural force I needed to listen to was the wind. It was incredibly strong, and showed no mercy for the care I put into my art work. Within the first 12 hours of its installation, the wind's force actually broke the wooden tripod off its base. I reinforced it and moved it to a new location with the help of some friends where it leaned for support against the concrete of the overpass. The winds are still strong so I will need to return every day to see how the wind is affecting it.

photo by Marc Vincent