Sunday, March 28, 2021

Roots Project: The Way of Good Advice


This is the third in the initial series of experiments working with native grass roots, and the last work that incorporates the original planter, with the dried grass above and the roots below.

I had been mulling over the frustration of elders who, having suffered a long haul of human existence and gathered what seem convincingly like core, universal truths and strategies for living, find that there is an insurmountable communication barrier — the young appear to be utterly indifferent to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In this way are we any different from the octopuses, orphaned at birth, who have to learn everything from scratch and then proceed to take all of the knowledge their brilliant little brains have accumulated with them when they die?

I used Chinese good fortune paper, normally burned as an offering for dead ancestors, to write down a few key things I have learned over the last 72 years, rolled them into beads, and used them in this piece.

Step one: transcribing wisdom

Step two: transforming wisdom into beads

The assemblage utilizes a rather gorgeous clump of Reed Manna grass, the roots removed from the hydroponic bath and gently, gently teased apart with a toothpick. Finally, the roots were carefully threaded through the beads of wisdom.

The final piece


And there the advice remains, available, unseen, beneath the surface. It occurs to me at this stage that perhaps, while the advice is never directly imparted or communicated, the fact that it was accumulated somehow magically translates into the structure and growth of the plant. It's a hope anyway, and a very vague, dimly understood metaphor.

For more about this continuing experimental work with roots, see The Roots Project.


1 comment:

  1. My grown children often quote both their grandma & their greatma, so perhaps more attention is being paid than it appears. :)


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