Installation view, A Treatise on the Art of Grafting: Failure to Thrive by Cat Jones 2018. Image courtesy of the artist.
“Confronting, beautiful and bizarre, the radical works of This Mess We’re In”
Jenny Scott, Seesaw Magazine

Mixed media installation, plaster forms (hands, finger roots), plaster tape (memory knots and bandages), vintage cutting tool and  plant materials – Allocasuarina fraseriana (She-oak), Banksia serrata (Saw banskia), Cephalotus follicularis (Carnivorous pitcher plant), Acacia cyclops (Red-eyed Wattle), Agonis flexuosa (Weeping peppermint).

Graft failures occur due to physical damage, incompatibility and maladaptation. The abandoned prototypes of A Treatise on the Art of Grafting: Failure to Thrive are a prequel to Plantarum: Empathic Limb Clinic and Somatic Drifts, these sculptural performance works are experiments between the human mind and flora, neuroscience and horticulture, forms of “synaptic grafting”.

These artworks grow somewhere between speculative reality and future. They play on the irony of mediated experiences with nature and are rooted in therapeutic proposals for phantom limb pain. They tangle and transgress cortical re-organisation theories with illusion and shamanic healing practices. Their intentional complication of the metaphysical with empirical is extended through co-authored publication of novel neuroscience and pain studies[1].

Where the performances embody female self-authored scientific knowledge the installation is a contraindication for broken female authority in plant medicine lore and science.

These failed implantations further consider broader national and global separations and loss, the severances of colonization. Here in these wastelands, here lie the vestiges of land grabs, cuts to country and cultural thievery.

Installed as part Wunderkammer, abandoned laboratory, gardeners shed and family vault.

Exhibiting 13 October – 2 November 2018 in This Mess We’re In curated by Tarsh Bates and part of Unhallowed Arts. Installed in The Vault at Fremantle Customs House.

Special thanks to Tarsh Bates, Sue Hauri-Downing, Laura Barendregt, Ann Jones and Alison Jones.

[1] Nishigami, Wand; Newport, Ratcliffe, Themelis, Moen, Jones, Moseley, Stanton; Embodying the illusion of a strong, fit back in people with chronic low back pain. A pilot proof-of-concept study.; Musculoskeletal Science and Practice Journal; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msksp.2018.07.002