TOPIA explores a “flattening” of reality in an area that is often overlooked in America: agriculture. Conventional agriculture practices have transformed prairies, forests, marshes, and deserts into monoculture landscapes of stripes, grids, and circles. Monoculture can be defined as a conventional practice of farming where a single crop is grown over a wide area, with herbicide, pesticide, and fertilizer applied to ensure scaleable, and homogenous growth. This process of razing and re-arranging growth creates vast patterns across the earth, and sites of erosion, depletion of fertile soils, loss of biodiversity, and deforestation. With the human ability to terraform nature, how will monoculture fare in the midst of changing climates, global food supply, and geopolitics?
Growing up near gridded palm tree nurseries in South Florida, and commodity crops of corn and soybean in South Central Wisconsin, monoculture influenced my experience of space and affinity for “flattened” spaces. In TOPIA, I revisit these augmented landscapes through cut tyvek paper, vinyl, and neon. By referencing GIS data, drone imagery, and 3D imaging techniques, I replicate familiar agricultural patterns from a non-human perspective. The resulting scenes depict a binary of utopian abundance and dystopian obliteration.
TOPIA was on display at the Arts + Literature Laboratory, January 6–February 5, 2022.