The arid leaves made no sound, amid the stringently conditioned atmosphere in the early hours of a typical cloudy British day. Tourists were scant, paying brief visits to each room. Yet the serenity was slightly unusual. There is a sense of stiffness and almost suppression, bouncing within the metal frames as the architecture expanded. The botanicals - are they not held hostage by (once again) humankind's progressive voracity of scientific savage? Are they not the dignified martyr, no matter how many conservational values they serve, being utterly removed from their natural habitat and forced to become colonised in the most artificial setting? Far, far, far away from home, marginalised. Who are these heavily guarded specimens, cosmetically composed, yet deprived of total freedom? The temperate peace and placidity are well-planned projections funded by your entrance fee. Sometimes I hear the greenhouse weep, just slightly softer than the ventilating machine.
Melancholy is a greenhouse.
SOMETIMES I HEAR THE GREENHOUSE WEEP
Marginality is generally understood as falling out from mainstream acceptance. The Social Model of Disability attributes the cause of this exclusion to biased human spectacle rather than physical impairment. It is about personal feelings, vulnerability, and ultimately, emotional resilience. Coupled with the flux of our turbulent world, the marginal state has gradually become an unsettling ground. Everyone could have special needs at any particular time. Out of the blue, we could feel left behind, misunderstood and rejected by the entire world, and yet the next second, we may feel perfectly fine. Our contemporary lives become an incessant journey travelling in and out of the spectrum. When such transience becomes a generational phenomenon, the term ‘marginalised’ is more than an over-simplified vocabulary in our pathogenetically binary understanding of one’s well-being. The notion of marginality should not be marginalised anymore. A new twilight of discovery surfaces - the necessary learning that we should devote to the prolonged toil of the struggle of our conventionally depreciated others, as now we finally become one.
For this, when the human world is intensively convoluted with the botanical universe, perhaps nature could enlighten us as it always does. The marginalised endeavour through the given established framework like weeds thrives against the barriers of concrete walls and manhole covers. Who are the marginalised in our Mother Nature? Weeds draw the scenery of outskirts in the natural landscape, following their autonomous path under the gloomy Anthropocene climate. For years, I have been tracking them through a photographic lens across the globe. At some point, I elaborated on their nomadic vitality into an imagined identity of ’the Weedist’ which embodies a transgressive spirit against dominant ideologies. Sometimes I feel like a visual anthropologist, adopting an ethnographic investigation into a possibly ‘primitive’ group of plants, similar to how anthropology develops its own differentiated discipline from science through a more humanistic and descriptive approach.
/Skirting the Botanical Marginality/