Houseplants on Tour, 2014-2019

Collective performance in which participants are invited to take a plant from their home on walk through the
city. Most houseplants are rarely exposed to exterior conditions, much less public spaces, this work offers an opportunity for the plant and its owner to be together in an uncommon scenario.

Throughout the performance, participants discuss and reflect upon their relationship to the plant they carry and the other plants they see in public space.

Performed at Ministry of Casual Living, University of Alberta and Despacio Art Center.

Breadhomes, 2018

Part of the series Tools for Bird Hospitality these sculptural works are crafted from day-old bread and turned into inhabitable birdhouses. These homes take into consideration the bird’s needs by presenting them with the choice of eating the house or nesting in it. It is a win-win situation.

Installed at Hamlet, Zurich

Zimmerpflanzen in Residence, 2018

For this work the citizens of Langenhagen were invited to bring and leave one of their plants in the Kunstverein, thus creating a botanical portrait of the city and its inhabitants. To lend a houseplant is an act of trust; an agreement between the institution and its neighbourhood. The plants stayed as long as they liked their temporary home.

Installation at Kunsthalle 3000/Kunstverein Langenhagen

Plants in Residence, 2016

During the summer of 2016 I delegated the care of my plants to an art institution. The term ‘houseplant’ is another way of saying ‘plant in residence’ therefore I planned a residency project for them. Open Space Arts Centre took them in and incorporated them in their daily work routine as if they were another member of the insitution. The staff gave them names and developed a strong relationship with some of the plants. They kept a journal for documentation during the residency and ended up keeping two of my plants after the project was over.

Throughout the residency the responsibility for the plants’ wellbeing was shared by all staff members; temporarily leveling a stablished institutional hierarchy.

Plant Personification, 2018

Through this guided meditation performance, participants immerse themselves into the personality of houseplants they are familiar with. They are asked to remember the plants they live with or the ones they see on a daily basis. They remember their leaves and pots, and the sun that hits them.

Then, blindfolded by houseplant-masks, they begin a walk through the forest, carefully holding eachother, trusting their senses, as houseplants that are experiencing life outdoors for the first time.

Performed at La Tigra Performance Festival

Perpetual Ornamentality, 2019

What role do houseplants have in our lives?

At times they may be regarded as friends or surrogates when we care for them and keep them alive in our homes. Perhaps they satisfy our need for caring about other living beings. At other times, they seem to be a commodified ornament, used solely as decoration in interior spaces.

It seems as though, by keeping houseplants, we can be in contact with nature from the safety of our homes-- on our own terms. But if the plants are just ornaments, then they must satisfy specific aesthetic characteristics to be deemed worthy of living in a domestic space.

The images used here are examples of the houseplant relegated to the level of pure decoration in favour of our gaze. Installed as scenographical elements, these flat and monochromatic specimens are printed on a 1:1 scale in order to enhance their bodily relation to the viewer.

These are the plants you don’t have to care for, they don’t grow and they won’t die; they exist in perpetual ornamentality.

The hand that feeds, 2018

Part of the Tools for Bird Hospitality series,
The hand that feeds is an outdoor sculptural installation. Hands are carved from loafs
of bread and placed in public squares and sidewalks for urban bird species to eat. This work plays on the popular saying “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”, creating a nurturing hand that is non-threatening for the birds.

Installed at Bellevue in Zurich

Dimensions variable

Más vale pájaro en mano que cien volando, 2017

This series of photographs was taken during an amateur-ornithologist research trip. The researchers use nets to trap the species. Then they proceed to document the birds, holding them by their legs. Holding a bird without harming it is considered an honorable feat amongst the amateur ornithologist community. These photographs represent the duality of the trusting bird and the restrictive hand. Amateur ornithologists tend to have other professions, therefore their approach to birds comes as a hobby, a mix of scientific curiosity and pleasurable contemplation.

The relationship between the hand and the bird in the picture highlights a deep desire to hold what is constantly being observed from a distance.

It’s for the birds, 2018

Birdwatching, or birding, is a form of wildlife observation in which the observation of birds is a recreational activity or citizen science. It can be done with the naked eye,through a visual enhancement device like binoculars and telescopes, by listening for bird sounds, or by watching public webcams. Most birdwatchers pursue this activity for recreational or social reasons, unlike ornithologists, who engage in the study of birds using formal scientific methods.

“Its for the birds” takes these amateur approaches to ornithology as a starting point to highlight the relation between humans and birds in contemporary society. I constantly travel to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica to document the groups of birdwatchers that travel from Europe and North America to cross-out exotic bird species from their observation lists. When waiting for a bird in the forest, these groups take collective observation positions, much like alert animals (or tourists). The large photographs emphasize these gestures by turning the lens on the observers and not what they observe.

Additionally, images from bird-photography manuals used by these birdwatchers  are re-purposed as anti-collision stickers, commonly used to prevent birds from hitting windows. The ideal image of the bird used as a warning sign to deter harm.