Herbal Tea Labo
For the duration of the residency at AIRY in 2019 I have invited the audience to participate in tea sessions loosely based on Ukrainian herbal rituals. The residency culminated in an exhibition of an installation of dried medicinal herbs gathered from the participants and on walks around town, as well as fermented drinks — all informed by the conversations during the tea sessions. The fermentation bacteria broke down the plant ingredients into easily digestible nutrients and transferred energy to their next consumer in the food chain. Together with medicinal herb remedies, fermentation served here as a metaphor for transformation, death and rebirth. The artwork offered the audience a frame for participation and transformation as they insert themselves into nature’s greater metabolic system.
The miniature dioramas that comprised the table-top sculpture along with the drinks were populated with anthropomorphic figures. The Jomon dogu-like clay figurines intended to bring to mind the idealised hunter-gatherer society existing in equilibrium with nature. The uncanny landscape of normally delicate dried herbs menacingly towered over the human clay figurines, representing the negotiation between natural and man-made.