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(GRAFT) at Art Loop Open

November 12, 2010
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From October 12th to November 12th, CCES 001 was installed as part of Chicago’s Art Loop Open in the lobby of 200 N Michigan (adjacent to the Hard Rock Hotel), curated by Jeff Ward.

A link to GRAFT’s profile on their site: http://www.artloopopen.com/artists/merissa-benedict

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CCES 001 Model

September 27, 2010
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This is the initial model for CCES 001. Several components were changed during fabrication of the final version, but at this stage we had already acquired a concrete idea of the overall design of the system.

Feature in ArtSlant

September 22, 2010
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Thanks so much to Abraham Ritchie for including CCES 001 in his review of last week’s gallery crawl – Chicago’s season opening and the opening of “A Fickle Existence” at the Sullivan Galleries. To read the review: http://www.artslant.com/chi/articles/show/18827.

Also a few pictures taken of GRAFT maintaining our quickly transforming trifoliata during Sullivan’s SAIC Grad reception. More to come soon…

CCES 001

August 26, 2010
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After over 8 months of work, our first climate control system is built and installed for the Sullivan Galleries opening of “A Fickle Existence” (August 28th-October 15th) – a group show exploring the dichotomy of natural and artificial in their various combinations and manifestations. CCES 001 is a custom climate control system, built for our most bonsai-like poncirus trifoliata (the aforementioned Japanese bitter orange). Our initial interest was in building a system that would entirely isolate the tree from the exterior world, seemingly autonomous but incredibly fragile and dependent on an absurd amount of effort and care. As the system begins to simulate winter, we will slowly offset the climate/ world within the box from the climate/world without (e.g. while it is summer outside, the tree will be in a dormant winter sleep; while it’s winter outside, the tree will be in full foliage).

We will be working with the tree (pruning it with our 3 foot long clippers) during SAIC’s graduate reception in the space – more photos to come!


Sullivan installation (23rd-25th)


During install we were able to bring the temperature down to 35 F (prefect for dormancy). However, to install the plant, we brought the temp. back up to 51 F. We hope to gradually lower the temperature over the course of the exhibition to hopefully bring the tree to an early fall foliage drop. We’ll see what happens!

process photos from the past two of our eight months saga…

GRAFTing

August 26, 2010
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We have been initially attempting our more literal “grafting” on the branches of an aurelia imported from Home Depot. Grafting, although an incredibly ancient art, is also an incredibly tricky one, particularly as woody plants take quite some time to heal (months in fact, as we’ve found out after impatiently removing the wax too soon). We are interested in the act of grafting as both a form of hybridization (literally fusing together tissue from two sources) and as a way to fundamentally restructure the growth of a plant (for aesthetic rather than functional use). As a collaborative duo, the very idea of grafting applies not only to our physical manipulation of plants, but to our shared practice as we combine skills, resources and concepts to enhance our collaborative work.

Check back for further experiments and attempts to come in this endeavor…

Poncirus trifoliata: “flying dragon”

August 16, 2010
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The impetus of our first collaborative projects: a small, bonsai-like deciduous orange tree, imported from Korea to Japan, and consequently to Chicago. As two native Southern Californians, the exoticism and absurdity of an orange tree surviving in a climate as cold as Chicago’s is an intriguing tree anomaly.