Lungs of Flowers, 2018
Born New Zealand, 1981
In the ocean there exists a type of creature called Xenophora pallidula that collects discarded shells from the ocean floor and cements them into its own shell, camouflaging itself in a sophisticated spiral of spirals. The genus name "Xenophora" translates to "carrier of foreigners" – one large shelter carrying a collection of many smaller shelters. Naturally we could imagine a building like the Rijksakademie as a giant Xenophora shell that entangles a diverse body of foreigners within its spiral, but in this case they exist inside the comfort of the shell rather than on its exterior. But what if a shelter was purposefully built on the outside, on the roof of the building; connected to the overall structure yet more exposed and entangled with the exterior world?
A greenhouse is at once a shelter, a studio, a story, an environment. One moment you have a roof - a surface exposed to sun, wind, rain, and lightning - and then a greenhouse is built upon it. This process encloses a small part of the exterior world with walls and in doing so creates a new interior. Humans are always trying to frame the world, and themselves, with walls and with language. Interiors can be formed slowly or quickly, their borders can sometimes be very slippery, and what one decides to use an inside for differs according to desire and necessity.
Even your own lungs are not really just you - your lungs are temporary shelters for the outside world to spend time in the middle of your being. Interestingly, whether it is night or day, your body decides to keep this space in perpetual night-mode; dark and moist, sunless, a place where bats would love to dwell. So if we imagine smoke entering your lungs as a cloud of tiny flying bats then this helps us to stay connected to the cave; to the idea of shelter, to fire, to warmth, to shadows, and to the nascency of images.
A greenhouse that exists in order to grow cannabis plants is just one way things can go. Most of the time we grow cannabis for its flowers. We enjoy looking at flowers, we enjoy eating certain flowers, and in the case of cannabis, we enjoy smoking its flowers. These flowers are sexual forms grown healthy with sunshine, water, bat guano and seaweed that we eventually transform into smoke so they can circulate within our blood. Unlike images of flowers and sculptures of flowers - that are often made to withstand the erosion of time - cannabis flowers themselves are grown in order to disappear; to be combusted, consumed, and bloom again within our insides.
I can offer you some of these flowers, not because I care about you, but because I care about the flowers. You are just a receptacle for the plant’s own transformation.