The Illusion of Plans is both the name of a project a title of a show now on view at Dorsch Gallery,
Oct 8 - Nov 14
This show brings together three separate but related works:
(Not) Architecture: Partial Walls for Dorsch Gallery, a series of rammed-earth walls tracing floor markings from Dorsch Gallery's former incarnation as a lamp factory.
Structural, Uncontrolled, Hollywood, Political, Auteur, Cosmic, Happy, Sad, and Ordinary
The Illusion of Plans
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Home experiments in NYC with dryed indigo sold as "black henna" proved successful.
We live with plant and other species whose presence does not remain burried for long.
Following a lead from a local botonist I headed to the Florida Keys to find a known population of Indigofera Tinctoria or True Indigo.
At the end of a road behind a local airport I found the population that I'd been told about.
Back in Miami I began cultivating the plants I had brought back.
I also did further dying experiments and found that in tropical climates the lengths I had gone to in NYC were unneccessary due to temperature.
Returning to NYC I tried extracting the indican from leaves brought from Florida.
Ultimately these attempts proved unsuccessful. I suspect it simply wasn't warm enough. I resorted to using comercially available indigo from India.
In the meantime the plants in Florida had taken root.
We turned our attention to producing the moulds for the (Not)Architecture rammed earth walls that follow yellow lines on the floor of the gallery previously used to designate work areas in the former lamp factory.
Plugging in the cement mixer caused a power surge.
I presented a seminar on extracting indican from dryed leaves. We dyed jeans and shirts both of which were commonly dyed with indigo after synthetic production of the dye was discovered in 1864 by Adolf von Baeyer for which he recieved the 1905 Nobel Prize. The Indigofera Tincoria plants that now grow in the United States are the legacy of those plants first cultivated in the 1739 by Eliza Lucas Pickney. For over a century these plants were used to produce indigo largly through the exploitation of enslaved African-American labor.
The Illusion of Plans goes deep into colliding natural, economic and political histories via the indigo plant. Indigo grows like a weed in Florida, where it was once cultivated as a valuable dye. In The Illusion of Plans, indigo is stripped down to two primary qualities: that particular color blue, and a generic-looking plant. Spiraling outward from these material foundations are wild expeditions to locate indigo plants in their natural Florida habitat, encounters with local botanists and horticultural bureaucracies, and the discovery of indigo’s troubling labor history.