As promised, here is the performance art component to the piece. I performed only once for the opening reception. I sought out help froma professional dancer and teacher Carolé Acuña on the choreography of the piece. She is a versatile artist: comedian, actor, dancer (flamenco and modern and yes, she once taught Cold Hearted Snake by Paula Abdul. I know so because I learned it from her.) I thought the performance art component was a good idea at the time I developed the concept which was before I told anyone about it, but doubts crawled to the forefront eventually. But I couldn’t let go of the idea even though I had my doubts. I finally did it because I didn’t want to have any regrets.
This is a very simple piece about the plant. It is rather kindergarten in quality. I start off as a seed and eventually germinate when all the conditions are right. As I grow, I follow the sun and come across adverse weather conditions: wind, heat, and rain, which I am able to withstand. Finally I become a tree.
The inspiration comes from a stupid incident at work. I grow plants for experiments. The “fun” lab (which I complained about a long time ago) decided to use part of the greenhouse I was using to grow my plants, but they were using the space to collect insects from Berlese funnels and the lights in the funnels have to be on all the time. My poor little lupine seedlings were confused by the extra lighting. They thought that they should be flowering, but it wasn’t time yet. They hadn’t gathered enough resources to flower, but they were trying so hard to flower. This weakened the plants and rendered them useless for experiments because some of the species that I was growing were annuals, so once they flower, produce seeds, then they die sooner than we want them to. So I made a big stink about it because their space invasion affects mine negatively (and ultimately the experiments of other researchers and postdocs who are oblivious to my efforts.). The purpose of greenhouses is to grow plants in a more controlled environment, and not for damn berlese funnels which didn’t need to be in a greenhouse to begin with. So the “fun” lab put up black curtains to block the light but this blocked all the light, including sunlight, which my plants need for photosynthesis. So I continue to fight for my seedlings. I insisted that they open the curtains in the mornings and close the curtains at night from Monday to Friday, which they did eventually, but my seedlings meanwhile suffered and never recovered. I also have gotten a reputation for being a silly, overprotective, temperamental, territorial technician. Anyway, I dedicate this performance to my lupine seedlings who would have thrived had they been given all the resources they deserve. Long live little lupines!
Below are photos and a video (scroll down).
Maybe I did envision this at an early age: