Artistic Responses

Cultivating the Exotic

Isabel Lima

In the detailed and itemised catalogue written by Towsend Fox, he discusses at length all the objects he purchased on behalf of the Literary and Philosophical Society. Listed as one item was simply 200 species of exotic plants. It was not articulated further nor was it addressed again. We do not know if they were alive or dried. We do not know what happened to them.

Artist Isabel Lima chose to envision them as alive. She mirrored their perceived living presence by growing plants in test tubes on the shelves of the Lit and Phil Library. During the exhibition she came and watered them weekly. When the exhibition came to an end she planted those that survived near the city walls. The specimens which did not thrive were placed in the same holes to act a mulch.

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