alexandra regan toland

research narratives in artistic ecology

Fertile Ground

The ongoing project Fertile Ground is inspired by the science of invasive ecology, the study of the entry, establishment, distribution, and environmental impact of species translocated from one region or continent to another by humans. Focusing on the spread of non-native plant species in northern Europe, the project consists of a series of botanical sculptures and digital images that explore the ways exotic plants enter new landscapes.

The initial introduction of a species may be accidental or deliberate, and may involve the planting of seeds or whole plant specimens, for example in private gardens. Transport vectors also include travel via clothing, shoes, cars, trains, ships and other vehicles, localized escape from gardens and parks, including botanical gardens, and “setting individuals free” as in the case of many invasive fishes, turtles and other discarded pets.

Project Site and Duration:

Botanical Gardens in Göttingen, Germany; Botanical Gardens Ljubljana, Slovenia and other indoor and outdoor locations from 2002 – 2006

Project Partners / Collaborators:

Dr. Julia Otto (then freelance curator in Göttingen)

Materials and Methods:

Started  in 2002 as the final examination project for  my masters of fine arts program at the Dutch Art Institute in Holland, the project consisted of hundreds of tiny sculptures of various materials and dimensions. Some of the artificial flowers were made out of found objects, plastic rubbish, and gold-leafed paper. A later development of the project was installed at the Botanical Gardens in Göttingen, Germany (2002), curated by Dr. Julia Otto, the Botanical Botanical Gardens in Ljubljana (2005), as part of the Break 2.3 “New Species” Festival, and in various indoor and outdoor spaces in Berlin, Köln and Arizona. The installation in Göttingen included a species of robotic lotuses and luminescent orchids and a series of digital images of the sculptures hidden in wild natural places. The installation in Ljubljana included a narrative audio guide of great escape stories some exotic species have made from the confines of private gardens to local landscapes.


This entry was posted on September 10, 2005 by .
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