Asparagus: A Horticultural Ballet

Asparagus: A Horticultural Ballet is a live performance and film narrating the rise of capital in the medium of asparagus. The project stemmed from an obscure reference to an art piece of the same name by Waw Pierogi of the band xex. However, its re-enactment had little to do with the original exploration of the growth and branching patterns of the asparagus plant. Instead, a rigid choreography inspired by Oskar Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet and based on Karl Marx's Capital dictated the movements of six performers in asparagus costumes. Bringing together the organic and the geometric, the ballet investigated the transition from the Fordist assembly line to immaterial labour through a reanimation of modernist abstraction. Being itself the story of abstraction, Capital shows how human relationships are replaced by those between commodities in the joyless grind of endless accumulation. This process results in the transcendent mythical figure of capital, which frames, transfigures and even produces the natural world. Asparagus: A Horticultural Ballet was produced in collaboration with Montreal based band Les Georges Leningrad and commissioned by The Showroom Gallery, London.

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Stills from Asparagus: A Horticultural Ballet

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Asparagus: A Horticultural Ballet [VHS transferred to DVD, 30 m in., 2007]

The film Asparagus: A Horticultural Ballet was part of the project commissioned by The Showroom, London. Shot at The Showroom and at Battersea Park, where the costumes were made as part of a residency at the Pump House Gallery, the film is a pseudo-documentary about the rehearsal process that culminated in the live performance at Conway Hall in London and SAT, Montreal, as part of the Montreal Biennial. In the film, a fake choreographer makes demands of the dancers and musicians (the band Les Georges Leningrad). The vegetables are finally let loose in the park to explore garden furniture constructed for the Festival of Britain in the 1950s.


Untitled (Asparagus Hats), 2007