The Plant. The Long Paddock Exhibition

Authors: Amaia Sanchez-Velasco, Gonzalo Valiente and Jorge Valiente / Collaboration: Leandro Cappetto / Gallery: Wagga Wagga Art Gallery / Curator: Joni Taylor

The Plant is a term that refers to the ensemble of human, animal and technological actors involved in the tradition of moving stock across large and linear sections of territory. These paths known as Stock Routes trace the ancestral necessity to access pasture and water.

The technological revolution boosted by the post-fordist structures of production/consumption have transformed transport, communication and management technologies expanding the scalar and operational shape of stock routes across the globe. Shifting from a territorial to a planetary scale, linear and seasonal distribution of stock across time and territory operate now through 24/7 and ‘single-season’ operation logics. Trains, trucks, vessels, drones, cattle crushes, refrigerated chambers and supermarket trolleys, are part of a broad and ‘machinic constellation’ of technologies that allow us to track an atomized ‘Global Plant’.

A Cattle Crush is a technology that immobilizes cattle so that the animal can be safely and efficiently maneuvered. From the pre-industrial French device ‘travail’(work), traditionally displayed as a public infrastructure, to the contemporary cattle crush, the design has evolved to adapt to current forms of mass production. Transportable, resistant, electronic, efficient, individualized, attachable, and ‘invisibilized’ from the everyday realm, the Crush distills the clues to unveil the immaterial infrastructure of the ‘Global Plant’.

The Installation is a synecdoche. It is a selection of deconstructed technologies: Twenty foldable polyester ‘Merino Chairs’, a Cattle crush on wheels dressed up as a ‘media machine’ and a traveling cow-table called ‘Margarita’ (Daisy in Spanish). It is a performative staging set that contrasts pastoral and industrial imaginaries of rural landscapes.

‘The Plant’ is a transitory parliament that invites experts and general public to debate about the necessity of weaving new official narratives about the relation between humans, non-humans, technology, transparency, boundaries, legacy and the future of productive landscapes in the age of Anthropocene.

Grandeza featured in ‘The Long Paddock’ exhibition at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, New South Wales, Australia (6th of May - 17th of July). In 2017, The New Landscapes Institute commissioned nine new works which explore the past, present and future of our Traveling Stock Routes. The curator Joni Taylor invited Grandeza to take part in the exhibition.

It was a pleasure to share space and time with Joni Taylor, Zanny Begg, Megan Cope, Bill Buckley, Josephine Starrs and Leon Cmielewski, Hayden Fowler, Genevieve Murray / Future Method Studio, James Farley, Alex Ryan, The Wired Lab, Isaac Harrisson, Alexia Katerina, Lyn and Kevin.

Thanks to Leo Capetto from Grupo Toma for the unvaluable help during the installation!