Vacuform sculptures, 2.5" video screens, DVDs, wallpaper
"I had no Monarch in my life, and cannot rule myself, and when I try to organize - my little Force explodes - and leaves me bare and charred."
- ED letter to Thomas Higginson 1862
"Emily Dickinson's best poems come from an awe of change, and her feeling about change makes the characteristic movement of many poems a terrible passage or journey from one state to another." - Robert Gillespie, A Circumference of Emily Dickinson
In Adventures in Psychotropia, V.1 (Brugmansia), Dickinson's sometimes violent grammar and subjects are overlayed onto a landscape of harsh contrasts. A barren stream bed, panels the wall in stark black and white and forms the background for a cluster of sculptural flowers that resemble 3D wireframe renderings. Inside the flowers, animated birds, bees and dew fight, flirt and transform themselves on tiny video screens like perverse stigma at the pistils' tips.
The 3D flowers are based on the cultivar Brugmansia, the tree species of Datura, which has been tended across Asia. Europe and the Americas, and documented as far back as 3000 BC.With its beauty, intoxicating scent and hallucinatory chemical content, Brugmansia is a dangerous ally. Western gardeners call it Angel'sTrumpet, it is part of the nightshade family, to which mandrake and belladonna also belong; all contain the tropanes that enabled the witches to "fly." This plant has been referred to as one of the chronophagoi – the "time eaters." When ingested, imagination and reality are indistinguishable. The amnesiac properties of the alkaloid scopolamine – used in 19th c. childbirth to induce a "twilight sleep"– cause the consumer to forget when she returns to normal. Scopolamine was used experimentally by both Mengele and the CIA as a "truth serum," because of the candor and clarity available in this twilight condition. These plant alkaloids were eaten by young men in coming of age ceremonies, and following a weeks-long drug-induced state, they would have little recollection of their childhood; metaphor meshes with reality in a true passage from one kind of time to another.
This is not a sentimental plant.