scarecrow (2016-2017)

scarecrow, mixed media, found objects, and plants, Katarokwi-Kingston, Ontario, Juvenis Festival – Storefront Art Gallery 29 April – 7 May 2017 (installation view) 

Scarecrow looks back at the ways that surveillance and urban practices pervasively impact non-human animals and organisms consent. Urban developments remove, destroy, displace and replant vegetation. Paradoxically, urban centres, offices, condos and businesses often bring in exotic and ‘visually appealing’ plants into spaces as decoration and to appear more connected to nature. What this work suggests is that plants, animals and non-human organisms are constantly moved, viewed, watched, gazed and grown for the benefit of the human. CCTV cameras are installed across the Kingston Downtown and directly capture images of stray birds and plants amongst other animals, without thinking about non-human consent and choice. Their privacy is at the hand of human governance.

This installation includes several small plants (spider plants, snake plant, aloe vera, succulents etc.) installed in a window on view, for audiences who pass by. Moreover, fake CCTV cameras are installed in the direction of both the audience and the plants, to disrupt ideas of viewing, gazing and benefiting from the common office plant. The name Scarecrow comes from the metaphor of protecting plants, crops and vegetation from predators, though here, these cameras will act as a way of re-seeing our relationship with the plants we interact with on a daily basis for our benefit.