"An disobedient florist" is a bet on ruderal and arvense plants, also known as weeds. I arrived at this through researching legal proceedings from the late Middle Ages, discovering the connection between women who were condemned as witches and the places they inhabited, many of which nowadays are wastelands, "terrain vague," where these types of plants grow. The comparison becomes more than evident: witch women, considered nuisances to be eliminated within controlled social models, to lands and weeds that are also considered nuisances. Alleged witches who were condemned, among other aspects, for using this type of plants.
From a historical perspective, I delve into the world of weeds and what they represent – the discomfort they generate in systems, everything that can be seen as different. Their meaning captivates me, always carrying political connotations; a plant is not just a plant, botany is laden with conceptual and ideological nuances, which, when filtered through the realism of science, bestows a hypothetical and sumptuous veneer of objectivity.
With "A disobedient florist", I create an open research laboratory that aims not only to study forms, classifications, and taxonomies, but also to investigate conceptual aspects and political ideas. An analysis of the nuances and colors of plants, their cultivation, planting, sap, chromatography, and seeds.
At this point, the "weed" becomes an alternative proposal for change, thanks to its remarkable abilities of recovery, renewal, randomness, austerity, resistance, adaptability to disturbances, proliferation, and opportunism. Margins do not necessarily equate to shortcomings but rather open opportunities. Aware that they appear where we least expect them, rebelling against social order and stability, the cultivation of weeds is proposed to go a step further, somewhat like witches did in their gatherings, advice sessions, meetings, or covens. It might be, as scholars have suggested, the secret and hidden places where peasants, both men and women, secretly gathered at night to plan revolt against their lords. Or alleged wrongdoings, like throwing stones, actions perhaps against those in power – a thrown stone can be interpreted as an act of disobedience. Or their alleged powders, mixtures of different plant elements, herbs, toads, and the viscera of the deceased, perhaps as heterogeneous anti-system mixtures, against imposed models. From here, we can propose the construction of an alternative model that allows us to imagine possibilities, at a time when rethinking our life models is urgent to confront the crisis of our world. As subversion, resisting managed spaces, of transgressions that arise in the liminal spaces of the system, in its cracks and margins. It's about coming together to construct and reconstruct alternatives to our social model, healing through ruderal spaces, cultures, and politics against the ills generated by the capitalist world.
A Disobedient Florist. Video essay, 22.14 minutes. Test tubes, chromatographies, color tables, and seeds. Produced with the production support of the La Panera Art Center, CAN Farrera, and CDAN Osca. 2019.