Artist in Residence – Magali Nougarede – Bulletin #5
Rhizomatic roots have become my best friend!
Conducting this Artist Residency has been exhilarating and overwhelming in equal measure when facing the infinite array and layers of knowledge or activities available at the National Botanic Garden of Wales (not talking about the mindboggling nature of trying to understand what sustainability means more generally). I have been trying my best to embrace the site, its plants and its people, and respond to it – initiating various strands of thoughts and pockets of visual experiments. My attempts have seemed at most times, tentative, fragile and somewhat random and subjective. With my French need for ordered, Cartesian thinking battling fiercely against my female instinct to keep things open and holistic, I have been in pursuit of ‘connecting threads’, so as to get a better grip on the project without having to simplify or limit meanings.
But threads were never what was needed here, I was looking at the wrong material: the answer was to be found in rhizomatic roots and these had been under my nose all along in the guise of the bearded irises that grow in my garden or the couch grass that covers my allotment plot, and the no doubt huge variety of rhizomatic plants that grow at the NBGW. As a non hierarchical organisational model connecting pockets of meaning (however subjective) from any point and without ever closing down other connections or meanings, rhizomatic roots (especially the food storing kind as in the irises – not the couch grass, which is very invasive) have provided the answer to my recent troubles. Those of you already familiar with French philosopher Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze, who outlined the multifaceted virtues of this model, in their book “A Thousand Plateaus”, will already be acquainted with this way of thinking and being, but for me a new journey begins… one that offers structure, without to ever have to limit possibilities.