“Rural Noise Ensemble: Notweed (2019)” presented by Muller and Clute


Presentation Title:

  • Rural Noise Ensemble: Notweed (2019)



  • A gallery space is filled with over 300 dried stalks of Japanese Knotweed, an invasive species in the United States, suspended from a wire array on the ceiling. The stalks are hung close together, so that they clatter against each other as visitors move through the space as though the entire gallery is an enormous bamboo chime. Speakers in the four corners of the gallery space play synthesized tones modeled on the acoustics of the Knotweed stalks. A camera aimed at the stalks above the head level of participants measures the amount of activity or presence in the room and controls the density of the synthetic sound; the more activity there is among the stalks, the less digital sound there is in the room. Initially, we wanted to respond to the violent language of localism, the semiotics of containment, management, and eradication that quietly trains us to accept xenophobia and racism. Harvesting knotweed, crouching in the monoculture it creates as it chokes out native species, we realized that knotweed is not a migrant, contributing to greater biodiversity, but a colonizer. This project became an interrogation of our own identities as participants in a settler-colonial project.