Collaboration 8 – Artifice

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Artist – Daniel Trivedy

Scientists – Michelle Bales, Buglife; Dr Heather Whitney and Mike Harrap, Bristol Bee Lab, Bristol University; Dr Sarah Beynon, Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm

Linguist – Dr Paul Thompson, Birmingham University

This work partly addresses the loss of habitat for pollinators and is designed to raise questions about our contemporary relationship to nature, urban development and gentrification. Our living space has become cleaner, more sterile and gentrified, ‘faux botanicals’ becoming more and more fashionable. According to a recent article in the Guardian sales of artificial grass have grown substantially – but why? It seems we want to have a relationship with nature but without the ‘mess’.

The prevalence of artificial plants and the growing trend in favour of synthetic grass is a source of intrigue and consternation for Daniel Trivedy. Questioning why individuals would want to be surrounded by the forms of nature in a way that is clean, sterile and user friendly has become a stimulus for his work.

The Cross Pollination Introductory Days provided the opportunity for situating these observations into a wider context. Reflecting on the presentations, Daniel was particularly interested in the various attempts to change attitudes towards pollinators and their habitats. There was a growing realisation that the increasing prevalence of artificial plants and grass directly undermined much of the advocacy work in this area.

Daniel’s work is a commentary on the increasing prevalence of artificial plants, recently named ‘faux botanicals’, in the urban and suburban environment and the shifting attitudes that appear to accompany this transition; the intention is to problematize this relationship.

Creating a series of absurd and fictitious pollen forms using cut-outs from magazines and sales brochures was the visual starting point for the work. These two-dimensional images have been converted into three-dimensional forms using artificial plants and grass as the primary material for construction. Moving forward Daniel intends to collaborate with a member of the Cross Pollination team the linguist Dr Paul Thompson to create Latin names for the fictitious pollen forms that reflect the nature of the work.

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