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ABOUT MY WORK
I take comfort in the law of conservation of mass. This scientific law implies that mass can neither be created nor destroyed, although it may be rearranged in space, or the entities associated with it may be changed in form. I find that this idea can be applied as an argument for reincarnation. We and everything we know, are simply recycled combinations of the same particles that have always existed. When anything reaches the end of its current form, it will die, decay and be reallocated to the earth where it contributes to its next form. I believe that everything lives on through a kind of constant rearrangement process.
I find mycorrhizal networks fascinating. The mycorrhizal network is formed through the underground root systems of plants and trees in a forest and connects them all together. This network allows plants to transfer nutrients and resources to any other plant connected to it to benefit the overall health of the forest. Plants also communicate to each other by sending electrical impulses through this network. For example, a tree can identify an invading insect eating its leaves and as a response, the tree will emit a pheromone that will attract that specific insect's predator. It will also simultaneously communicate an alarm through the mycorrhizal network which in turn alerts trees in the vicinity. The neighboring trees will then begin to also release the same pheromone to strengthen their counter attack as a whole.
During the 2008 housing crisis, families were getting evicted from their homes. I remember hearing a story about a community in the south that was fighting back. On the day the sheriff would arrive at a residence to execute an eviction, the residents' friends, families and neighbors would occupy the house. There would be so many people in the house that it would overwhelm the sheriff's resources and they would not be able to perform the eviction. This would buy the resident family however long it would take for the bank to refile the eviction paper work. During this time the refiling process could take months to years to go through due to the amount of evictions being requested.
I cannot help but draw similarities between the plant's behaviors within the mychorrizal network and how we behave in our own human communities. We both look out for and support each other in order to adapt and thrive as a whole. I propose that this is because the same recipe of particles that create our ability to feel and think, that give us what we know as human consciousness is the same exact recipe of particles that create the environment around us. That we were once apart of what makes up our environments and that our environments were once apart of us, many times over. It is through this ideology that I approach my work. I use thriving landscapes growing from weathered and re-purposed material as a metaphor for the interconnectedness, community and resiliency of life we all share.
Ryan Weiss is an artist based out of Madison Heights, MI.