Over 7500 different kinds of apples (malus domestica) are known to exist, but only a few are grown today.  Each cultivar has its own characteristics, and its own name. I was intrigued by the names of apples that have all but disappeared – names such as Maidens Blush, Primate, Duchess, Snow, Wealthy and decided to document apple orchards on the older surviving farms around the perimeter of the city of Toronto. Journeys to this fray of urbanity lead me to discover another interesting series of names — street names in housing developments and industrial areas named after the apples and orchards that once grew there.

The resulting dual projection piece juxtaposes two culturally constructed landscapes, the suburban and the agricultural, asking the viewer to consider how we live in the natural world. The lost cultivar names found on street signs draw attention to our dwindling biodiversity, yet naming is often a way to remember — an act of commemoration. In this way, the apple names re-purposed as street names, create a kind of pastoral history, evoking an image of what once existed, to market what now stands in its place.

Apples (malus domestica) is the third work in a trilogy of video installations including BUG GIRL and BEAR. In different ways, these three works explore our cultural relationship to the natural world.

 

Length: 6:45 video loop with sound
Year: 2009
Exhibition Format: HD 1080i
Credits: Video by Su Rynard, Sound by Philip Strong

 

http://www.paulpetro.com/arc/2009.php?mode=past