Heracleum Mantagazzium is better known as the Giant hogweed or in Dutch the Reuzen berenklauw. The plant is introduced in Europe during the Victorian era due to its architectural quality. I want to re-introduce this species.
This is necessary because the perception of this plant is one sided. The plant is hated for its toxicity and outlawed by the European Union by 2017 and has to be removed from the landscape. This project toys with the question; when is a plant a native?
In several countries the giant hogweed is cultivated in one way or the other. In Iran they make an aromatic spice from the seeds of the plant, in the village of Tromsø the plant is kept as a garden plant still today, and in Georgia people use them as flutes and medicine.
After the Victorian importation of the plant, it escaped into the wild of the Netherlands. The Dutch landscape is for 99% disturbed soil, this in combination with a lot of water creates the perfect habitat for this plant. It grows here for over 170 years and is only prosecuted recently.
I want to show the other side of this plant. By constructing a material narrative that displays the material properties in the context of cultivating the plant.
The dynamics of the plant are translated into a campaign object, inspired by the Royal tulip vase, a metaphor for cultural acceptance.
The object consists of three stackable parts, each representing a chapter of the material narrative. Stacked, these parts form a tower of four meters high that communicates the symbolical and functional value of the plant.
The Jos Brink Oeuvre Prize is awarded once every two years to a person, group or institution that has made a fundamental contribution to improve the position of the LGTBI community. The winner of the prize will receive a design object and €10.000.-
The Ministry of Education chose the brooch design to function as the prize object during the Jos Brink award ceremony of 2019. With this commission I developed the design into a total experience that consist out of a short movie, process booklet, shiny presentation surface and a vivid brooch that can be planted after use.
I wasn’t born as an outsider, I became one. The LGTBI struggle is not my battle, but the notion of exclusion is. As a cross-over ally I work with materials that do not fit into the dominant social narrative. Weeds are a marginalized group of botanicals that are weeded and removed for what they are. I rather call these plants Wild flowers. My labour is an attempt to change perception. My design proposal for the Jos Brink award is: a brooch, made out of wild flowers, casted in bioplastic, that can be planted after use. The story goes that Oscar Wilde, wore a green carnation brooch to symbolize his homosexual affections. I re-value this symbolic meaning by using three different types of Wild flowers. The purple colour of the bio-plastic refers to the violet, a sign used by the lesbian community throughout history. This award is a moment of celebration. Yet it is also a moment to emphasize that emancipation is a thing that needs to worked on continuously. The gesture of the delicate brooch that can be planted afterwards emphasizes this constant care. With this care a new flower will flourish in the future.
The Heracleum Mantegazzianum better known as the Giant hogweed is now a days seen as a dangerous exotic weed. Therefor the plant is forbidden in the EU and removed from many landscapes throughout the Netherlands and beyond. In Victorian times this plant was highly valued due to its height and architectural quality. This project is an attempt to re-value the plant by showcasing several promising material opportunities. At the end of the plant’s life cycle the stems lignify. This raw material can be transformed into light foam plates, aesthetic finer and strong cardboard. This project is the start of my graduation project which will be released end of July 2019. Stay tuned!
The on-wheels research lab is currently located in the Piemont hills of Italy. In collaboration with Rob Lagrouw the project became a rich installation that functions as a showcase of the Calanchi. Calanchi is a material that is as old as the continent of Europe. An African continental plate pushed against the European plate, this resulted in the creation of the Alps. The low mountain landscape in Piemonte is a residue of this creation. Calanchi is a clay like substance which is filled with an uncountable number of fossils of former sea creatures. The area is protected UNESCO world heritage due to the fluidity of the landscape. The clay like substance dissolves in water, therefor the mountain is in constant change. This notion of flux causes the reveal of fossils, that can simply be picked up at the foot of the mountain. On top of the green mountain the richness of its Calanchi fundament is not visible. The Calanchi research lab takes the raw material up the mountain to visualize the historical narrative of the surrounding. The Calanchi research lab is not a permanent installation, it is almost as flux as the material. The installation can be visited on appointment.