Things that Move, Things that Grow

August 21, 2008

By Stacey Ho

A photo from Ron Benner's "Trans/mission: African Vectors."

Thinking back to elementary school, I recall that vectors are lines that start at a point and go on forever. Using plants as a starting point, Ron Benner has been drawing lines that trace the historical, cultural and political, in a body of work that spans over twenty years. The work follows the complex functions of plants, which can simultaneously act as a source of sustenance and as a tool in warfare.

“Food,” says Benner, “can be used as a weapon: you can withhold it from people, you can starve people. When you hear of a famine, you can be sure that ninety percent of the time, it is not caused by nature. People are starving because of warfare, politics. People are starving because of the way food is distributed.”

A new book, Gardens of a Colonial Present, documents two of Benner’s installations, As the Crow Flies and Trans/mission Vectors, as well as the outdoor garden installations springing from these works.


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