Sanctuary (Walmart Forest), 2019
Isolated inside a white cube art space, the 'neutral' format of contemporary museums, commercial galleries and modern Western-style housing, white birch trunks stand in formation. The trees are illuminated with fluorescent tube lights, recalling the big box store environment of their provenance, Walmart.com.
For this product the straightest trees are harvested, trimmed of inconvenient branches and roots, and heat-sterilized to prevent contamination of the customer’s home with insects or plant life. The birch plywood of the gallery walls is left exposed on the exterior. The installation is presented with a printout of the Walmart purchase webpage, which includes suggested items of interest, manufacturer part numbers, customer ratings, and related advertising (at the time of printout, lavender flavored bleach.)
Birch trees, first to regenerate after catastrophic forest fires, can perhaps act as symbols of hope. It may be that they will survive the destructive Human Age, and quietly cover our tracks with irregular white shoots.