Projects > Photography

Project Statement July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009

When I moved to Oakland, I met a lemon tree in the back yard. I was told that the tree bears fruit 365 days a year. I imagined fresh lemon for my morning water daily: an idyllic vision of a California existence. Soon, I was struck by the dark underbelly of nature's abundance: the tree's nonstop workaholic existence with no rest.

These photographs are the result of a yearlong collaboration between the lemon tree, my camera, and time. The length of the project coordinated to the lease on the apartment and a year from harvest to harvest; also as a pseudo-scientific experiment to test if the tree really does bear fruit 365 days a year. The process of repeated engagement interested me as a meditative practice with no predetermined outcome. Over time, my focus opened to the rotting lemons on the ground, networks of food production and distribution governing American eating practices, the social and cultural resonances of lemons, as well as the tree as a structural principle. The rotting lemons can be read as an homage to transformation; a metaphor for the dark side of unbridled productivity and mythic Californian overabundance; a mark of the passage of time; and a celebration of the symbiosis between growth and decay.

Additionally, the project takes form in daily life as:
• Harvesting / bartering for other edible plants in the neighborhood
• Contributing lemons to a free farmstand
• Making lemonade – as a performance
• Connections with other projects critically engaging food networks

The artistic project connects to my scholarly research on Food in Art.

Lemon Tree Project (Abundance and Decay #6)
Lemon Tree Project (Abundance and Decay #6)