Created for the exhibition "Tender Paths" at Stelo in Portland, Or
All the paper is made within my neighborhood in Detroit, MI
We primarily see paper as a tool. Which, on its own, isn't a negative thing. Using paper as a tool provides us with remarkable methods of communication, something so fundamentally human and dramatically recent. Where issue arrises is in the treating of paper with disregard and disrespect. It is impossible to see the forest in the materiality of copy paper. Not just because the specific trees that make up the sheet are untraceable, but that the end product has become so warped from the source. The plants have been manipulated. Their memories have been erased. The identity of the trees is irrelevant. 
Of course though, plants know place. And so do we. We are, at all times, steeped in location, in neighborhoods, ecoregions, and cultural understandings of what it feels like to be, say, a young white man, age 26, recently moved to Detroit. A lot can be said about that statement. Misunderstanding emerges when we think we are able to create an accurate depiction of what is happening to another person, in a mind, in a time, in a place.
What we are really after, is a non-photographic representation of the neighborhood. A translation of how this spot feels. This is simply me walking past the plants with a gentle nod - "sup, glad you are still here." This is where I am at, in my body and in relationship to the plants that have found within themselves the capacity to burst through concrete. Exerting an outward force on the world that I forget about at almost all times. This is about a quality of attention and of labor set forth as a way to honor the alleyways and sidewalks that continually hold me. Me, with so little and so shallow of a connection to the place I now live, being granted access to a space that has been fought for, grieved over, celebrated, and continually lurking through the long arc of change.
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