Grand Metis, Canada
Neeraj Bhatia, Anesta Iwan, Cesar Lopez
In Canada, 486 invasive plant species exist, several of which were introduced during the colonization period of the 1800s for ornamental purposes — to create gardens. Ironically, it is the success of these plants in flourishing in non-native environments that now makes them a threat. Simultaneously, several of these ‘alien’ plants have resided in Canada longer than Canada’s own formation in 1867. Our proposal produces a living archive of 22 of the earliest invasive plant species to Canada that were intentionally introduced for their beauty. Organized within a tensile structure that allows each of these species to hover behind a transparent veil, these plants are separated from the ground below where they could pose a threat. As the festival continues through the summer, these plants will develop and their weight will pull them closer to the earth — the tension of the flexible portico structure aligning with the tension of the approaching species. Our garden celebrates these species by allowing people to interact with them and re-positions them as a part of Canadian culture. Our scheme proposes an interactive installation that merges art with ecologies and politics. Users can push and pull on the modules, as well as learn about characteristics of these species such as growth rate or water absorption directly through the structure’s transformation through time. By framing the tension between invasive and native species, the project is part art-critique of culture and part garden-critique of nature.