Xavier Cortada’s approach to exotic invasive species

Xavier Cortada, an artist working on projects all over the world, and based in Miami, has developed Hanging Gardens. a participatory work addressing the issue of exotic invasive species.  He says,

“For ‘Hanging Gardens,’ I propose to create vertical gardens… comprised not of species we want to grow, but of trees we want to kill. The installations would be a series of five “hanging” gardens, each created using plant matter (e.g.: cut branches, vines, bark, cones) from a different exotic invasive tree cut down and removed from the local environment… [I will] work with volunteers to remove exotic invasive species from the community and use the plant matter as the material/medium for the installation… Serving as public hanging gardens, the installations … would enlist local residents in re-creating them at home. Making commodities out of plants and trees too costly for the state to remove, the eco-art project would encourage residents to seek, cut down and remove the vegetation themselves. Showcasing their work, these participants would then encourage their neighbors and friends to also “un-grow” plant species that threaten the their local ecosystem as vertical gardens in their homes. Indeed, through Hanging Gardens I want to encourage today’s city dwellers to go on a new kind of wilderness safari.”

In addition to the project taking place in Miami, and resulting in an exhibition at Miami-Dade Public Library System’s Main Gallery in 2011, Hanging Gardens is also being implemented as the final assignment (download PDF) in Professor Christopher McNulty’s combined intermediate-level and advanced-level sculpture class at Auburn University.

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