Occupying the Arctic
While some people worry about alien species from outer space invading our planet, some scientists are more worried about local invasions, specifically that of plants invading territories not naturally theirs, and destroying the home plants. In the arctic, for example, human activity has introduced invasive ‘alien species’ that now call that region their home. Whether they live in harmony with native plants is unknown, as the arctic is such a vast geographical space, that some of these plants have probably never had the pleasure of getting to know each other.
How Canadian artist Tania Kitchell comments on this issue, is by recreating the exact species of these invasive plants in the arctic with abs plastic that has been formed with 3D modeling software and printed off on a 3D printer, in her piece Occupy (2012). Of course, photographs of these invasive plants were used as reference, but the proportions are all off, some plants being taller than they naturally are, in order to ask the question; does this distortion disconnect the viewer from the their perceptions of the arctic and its reality?
To help us find the answer, all the plants are placed on a 24-foot long table, allowing the viewer to ‘study’ these plants in the viewers’ natural habitat; an urban setting.
Fittingly, this piece was presented as part of the Anchorage Museums’ largest exhibition of 2012, titled, True North. The artist’s piece plays with both the title, and the issues raised by other artists in the exhibit, to really allow the public to rethink their romanticized views on the North.