Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Fluman Beings of New Zealand

The Arts Festival of Christchurch sprouts with human-floral hybrids.


Inflated orchids and animated ‘rose windows’

will come alive for the next two weeks

Image: Christchurch Arts Festival

A dear friend’s final wish was to visit New Zealand. And she made it, traveling from Texas to the Southern Hemisphere and the other side of the globe near the end of her days.

Now we are beginning to feel the pull. From what she told us and the (very) little we’ve seen and read, it seems that human New Zealanders are especially in tune with the plant world, not perhaps such great horticulturists as the Dutch or gardeners like the English or floral chefs like the Malaysians. Rather it’s as if they were part plant themselves, a little bit of chlorophyll dripping into the kiwi DNA.

Someday we’ll read up about Maori religion and better understand where this mystical sympathy comes from. Perhaps. It would be better just to go there, as our friend did, and meet these 6-foot, ambulatory flowers face to face. At four continents’ distance, we still can sense New Zealand’s “flumanity” via the Christchurch Arts Festival, which began today. Showing at Plantae Oceaniae are Jo Torr’s works, inspired by the 18th Century embroidery of Capt. James Cook’s wife; Torr has embellished a waistcoat with images of the first botanical specimens collected on Cook’s Pacific explorations.

imageWarwick Bell’s ‘Snow Orchids’

now blooming in Christchurch, NZ

Photo: David Hallett, for the Press

Multimedia artists Aaron and Hannah Beehre will be projecting a “Winter Rose” over the city cathedral’s Rose Window, a “flower” continually created by the bustle of people in the square below. Also, for Cathedral Square, Warwick Bell has designed huge buds of snow orchids which will “bloom” for the next 18 days—the duration of the festival. These look to us particularly like people dressed in flower costumes (a New Zealand pastime we’ve written of before). Bragging a bit on his own creation, Bell said, “It’s quite technically difficult to do. You’ve got this huge bulb head with a skinny stem holding it up, “

Well, right, Warwick. Some of us manage that every day!

For the many performances and exhibitions between now and August 12, the biennial’s organisers are expecting more than 175,000 people. And we’re supposing that a good third of them will have sepals.

Posted by Julie on 07/26 at 10:33 PM
Art & MediaCulture & SocietyTravelPermalink