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Vancouver, BC, Canada   |    info@laaracerman.com    |    604 360 9791    |

CODEX PACIFICUS

2016 - ongoing 

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"Now the seed became the magic symbol of the endless cycle. 

The plant died, and was buried, and its seed was born again....

From death comes life." 

-The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell

This body of work is a modern interpretation of the millennia-old art of botanical image making. My focus are the wild plants, both native and naturalized, of my home British Columbia. There is rich Indigenous knowledge and practice associated with native plants, however through colonization much of this knowledge was lost to many people living here. My deepest respect and appreciation goes to the First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest for their knowledge of harvesting, preparing, and using indigenous plants since time immemorial. Rather than appropriate the knowledge given to us by the First Peoples I try to pay tribute to its richness and importance.

 

As medicine became available in concentrated pill form and food easily accessible through grocery stores rather than directly through forest and farm, western society's reliance on wild plants as medicine and as food has faded and thus our knowledge of local plants has degraded. In an age where one is increasingly bombarded with media, one is more capable of identifying different brands than being able to recognize local trees, plants and wildflowers. These hyper-detailed, macro photographs of common British Columbia wild weed and flora are my attempt to reconcile my disconnection from the natural world around me and to learn about the environment that I live in. 

Codex Pacificus originally started as simple scans meant to be kept as a record for plant identification similar to herbariums of pressed plants kept by scientific institutions around the world. It has since grown into documenting the life cycle of wild plants. Time is an important aspect to the work as the images must be captured quickly (before the plants wilt) yet are slow to create, often taking months to gather the plant in the entirety of it’s life cycle.

 

I find these plants in unrecognized and under utilized spaces and I return throughout the year. These spaces become lush with diverse flora which are great habitats for bees, birds, and butterflies. Frequently these areas full of wild plants are mown down essentially destroying much needed ecosystems for pollinators and are thus replaced with a homogeneous, green, manicured lawn devoid of diversity. 

 

This is an ongoing series, one I hope will never be complete.

DISCLAIMER

The information provided is accurate to the best of my knowledge and is intended as general information only.   DO NOT consume plant matter unless verified as safe by a professional.

REFERENCES

Crockett, Lawrence J. (2003). The Field Guide to Weeds.
New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Co.

T.F., Thiselton-Dyer (1889).  The Folk-Lore of Plants.

London: Chatto & Windus, Piccadilly.

Folkard, Richard. (1884). Plant lore, legends, and lyrics. Embracing the myths, traditions, superstitions, and folk-lore of the plant kingdom.
London: S. Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington.

Friend, Reverend Hilderic. (1884)  Flowers and Flower Lore.

London: W. Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Paternoster Square.

Friend, Reverend Hilderic. (1907)  The Flowers and Their Story.

London: TheEpworth Press.  J. Alfred Sharp.

MacKinnon, Kershaw, Arnason Owen, Karst, Hamersley Chambers. (2009). Edible & Medicinal Plants of Canada.
Edmonton, Canada: Lone Pine Publishing.

 

Pojar, Mackinnon. (2004). Plants of Coastal British Columbia.
Vancouver, Canada: Lone Pine Publishing.

 

Stack, Frederic William. (1909). Wild Flowers Every Child Should Know.
New York: Grosset & Dunlap Publishers

 

Turner, Nancy J. (2007). Food Plants of Interior First Peoples.
Victoria, Canada: Royal BC Museum.

 

Turner, Nancy J. (2010). Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples.
Victoria, Canada: Royal BC Museum.

 

Turner, Nancy J. (2007). Plant Technology of First Peoples in British Columbia.
Victoria, Canada: Royal BC Museum.

 

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 10 Aug. 2004.