Gardens of the Future: Conversation in Memorial

Sculptural installation, exhibited at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (2012) and Wheaton College (2013)

Gardens of the Future: Conversation in Memorial is a habitat for conversation and contemplation built out of the invasive plant Oriental Bittersweet, a rapidly spreading vine that grows voraciously throughout the East Coast. Since 2011, through an ongoing series of dialogue-based performances in hand-woven sculptures for two, Sutton has collected over 200 future extinctions: ideas, behaviors, plants, concepts, creatures, and other things that conversation participants hope, fear, or mourn will disappear from the earth in the years to come.

Using a taxonomy developed for these future losses, Sutton documents the stories shared and their authors in the form of botanical tree tags hung within the Oriental Bittersweet structure. These contributions are concrete predictions as well as documents of the emotional landscape of fear, hope and loss that accompanies contemporary narratives of the environment, the climate, and the future.  In scheduled performances during the exhibition, Sutton will gather more losses and add them to this cultural history of the future. Participants can return and find their contributions hung throughout the space.

Photo credits: Andi Sutton, Joshua Dreyfus