Making oddkin with Japanese knotweed
14 September to 6 November 2021
Making oddkin with Japanese knotweed is an effort to engage with the globalised issues of the Anthropocene, locally, speculatively and co-responsively. To consider how one might better co-habit with others requires meaningful engagement; a quantum leap in imagination is needed. As anthropologist and multi-species scholar, Anna Tsing (2017:07) puts it; 'Somehow, in the midst of ruins, we must maintain enough curiosity to notice the strange and wonderful as well as the terrible and terrifying.' Tsing (2017:07) suggests that in these times of planetary catastrophe, we should begin with the practice of noticing; the humble, the local, the small. In some sense, this project is a response to Tsing’s practice by highlighting how an activity in one back garden can address larger questions concerning environmental futures. As Arundhati Roy (2011:214) puts it;
If there is any hope for the world at all, it does not live in climate change conference rooms or in cities with tall buildings. It lives low down on the ground with its arms around the people, who go to battle every day to protect their forests, their mountains, and their rivers. Because they know that the forests, the mountains, and rivers protect them.
The project reflects on concerns and attitudes towards herbicides, particularly Glyphosate, the most widely used component in pesticides globally. The idea for this inquiry originated when I decided to address the Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonicain) in the garden. As the invasive species is omnipresent in West Cork, I sought advice from friends, neighbours and people in the community. I quickly became involved in a heated conversation between organic and non-organic farmers about the contentious herbicide round up. I became acutely aware of the dichotomous schools of thought and approaches in my community.
Investigations are focused between three sites in West Cork. The primary site is my rural, coastal and largely unmanicured garden in Schull. The secondary sites are my partner’s family farm in Ballybawn, Ballydehob and the foreshore beach, Schull. The sites are connected through the presence of Japanese knotweed and the notion that the variant found in Ireland is one giant female that produces through cloning. With this in mind, I view each Japanese knotweed site as an extension of the multi-species community of my garden. Each study focuses on biodiversity, approaches to co-habitation, suppression and elimination.
The research connects with environmental and permaculture imaginaries that offer alternative and multi-species visions of the Anthropocene.
The project considers how the unkempt garden, invasive species and all, disrupts the reduction of the garden as a resource for humans. This notion becomes a point of departure to explore, imagine and dream non-hierarchal sites.
Becoming a Garden - an exercise in dreaming-with
Call for multi-species collaborators
Becoming a Garden is a multidisciplinary participatory project from the intersection of visual art, permaculture, entomology, fiction and plant spirit shamanism.
The project explores other-than-human approaches to the Anthropocene by addressing local, ecological and agricultural issues through a series of experimental encounters. The study addresses the problem of pesticides and species supremacy, centring on a multi-species community approach to land matters, weeds and invasive species.
Do you share land in West Cork with invasive species and weeds? yes?
Would you and your plant collaborators like to share stories, dream-together
or create something for the project?
If you are interested in participating, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
All interactions will be person and plant centred, and on-site in your land.
WCAC acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Cork County Council in making these residencies possible