Martin Roth: In May 2017 I cultivated a piece of land in Midtown Manhattan nurtured by tweets
Five tons of soil cover the floor of the ACFNY’s main gallery space in Midtown Manhattan, supporting over 200 lavender plants growing under fluorescent light. The surrounding walls are plastered over with the image of a verdant forest, sunshine spilling through the treetops and onto the leaves of the lower-hanging branches. A heady smell of lavender is occupying the space, creating a scenario that at first seems meditative. Yet, the aggressive perfection of the trees is not a testament to natural harmony. It is achieved by a generic commercial “Enchanted Forest”-themed wallpaper. Instead of birdsong, one is serenaded by the faint hum of fluorescent lights. And the “piece of land” is no rural field, but rather a subterranean gallery in a Midtown skyscraper. The total effect is less an immersion into the woods, and more a sojourn in a doomsday bunker of the One-Percent. Any calm this environment induces is innately tinged by suspicion of its circumstances.