I explore the paradoxical nature of landscapes in transition where beauty is conflated with health and maintenance with care. A young tree in the median of a parking lot, for instance, suggests health and hope in new growth. However, growth is restricted at the roots. The landscape requires constant maintenance in its deprived state. While another young tree beautifies a street corner, it also catches a reminder of what we have discarded. The plastic bag clings, exposed all winter until it is hidden again with the greenery of spring. A traffic median regulates the rush of traffic. Meanwhile, the island of grass creates an accidental habitat that is ideal yet dangerous for ecotone grazers.
I use the miniature scale to view the local from a distance and explore the scope of landscape problems. I see the impulse to build fences along property lines as a localized version of the broader sociopolitical impulse that erects barriers between countries. A fixation on higher yields turns ecosystems to monocultures in our fields as well as our backyards. This tendency to abstract landscape to suit human purposes is manifested in all levels of society.
In examining lawns I wonder, who is the more responsible neighbor, the one who keeps the lawn mowed and uses herbicides to suppress weeds or the one who perhaps understands the futility of this? I wonder if we can have empathy for both of these attitudes towards care as we perhaps understand both of these impulses working within ourselves