The Trees of St. George’s Square was a 20-minute performance situated at the base of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, commissioned by the Proximity Festival for their 2017 season. The work was performed over 100 times over the course of two weeks.
The work was initially inspired by the Jacaranda mimosifolia trees planted around the grounds of the court. The trees appeared to me to be in a state of ‘bondage’ as a result of being ‘cared’ for by a gardener. The work then took on additional layers of meaning once I discovered that the site is where the city of Perth was founded, an event marked by the felling of a native Sheoak tree.
The performance - part audio-guide / part one-on-one performance - takes participants through an extensive training induction designed to make them obedient to the ‘master gardener.’ Throughout the work participants learn of the various histories of plants on the site and how they have been historically manipulated and controlled for human desires. The work culminates with participants being put in a predicament where they must decide on the fate of either ‘weeding out’ or ‘planting’ a seedling grown from specimens collected from the site.