Lisa Smith Williamson's avatar Lisa Smith Williamson

The words "refugee" and "immigrant" conjure many images for people in the West, and many of those images are rooted in fear. We are scared of an increase in crime, terrorists, a drain on our country's resources and a decline in our standard of living. How often do we put ourselves in the shoes of the person forced to leave their home due to unforeseen circumstances, against their will? Or the person looking for the opportunities we all deserve? Through the use of reclaimed furniture pulled from the roadside, dangling in the air as though suspended in tornadic winds, I am posing questions for the viewer to contemplate. Kudzu is known in my area as "the plant that ate the south." It is known as an invasive species that, once planted, takes over everything in its' path, growing as much as one foot a day. It is a plant that we fear. What we do not hear, though, is that it is a completely edible plant that can sustain human life as well as be fed to livestock. It also holds medicinal value. If we were to explore the benefits of kudzu maybe we would be less afraid of overgrowth. This sculpture is a living piece. If the circumstances prove right for it to thrive, it will have gone through a deterritorialization and successfully reterritorialized. Should it fail to ReRoot, who is really defeated? And who plays the role of the kudzu? The nomadic wanderers encroaching on our domestic bliss, the American "Dream" or the forces pushing their population to go in search of a better life? Through the lens of the continental philosophy of Guiles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, we can unpack this piece with the idea in mind that there is a deterritorialization taking place and a reterritorialization happening, or a Re-Rooting. When something is ripped from the foundation, be it a plant or a home, or a family, its' natural inclination is to scramble to establish normalcy in a new environment. Whether or not it is successful depends on the identities you assign the objects in order to assess the sculpture.

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  • Art form: Installation
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