Dripstone is the research blog for queer visual artist, researcher, writer and curator Venus Jasper.

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Chapel of Wild Wisdom

Since ancient time, wise (wo-)mxn of the woods have come together to learn from Mother Nature, meeting in forest clearings considered sacred in (Europe's) pre-christian cultures. Drawn to re-booth Pagan Matriarchy inspired by druidic ritual gatherings and the permaculture movement, I designed a woodland garden in and around a dome-shaped greenhouse. In 2017, the work 'Grove 2.0 – Chapel of Wild Wisdom' was exhibited during the outdoor exhibition Disruption: Remapping Nature at Lustwarande, Tilburg.

I examined drawings and sketches from as early as 2009. Clearly I've always wanted the Abundant Holistic Green Future to leak into the Late-Capitalist "Now". My pencil has more that once imagined Space-Womxn apt at gardening and tending to the sacred blooming source of nature, coming to Earth. I had visions of gardeners, equipped with carry-on water-containers, trained in Telepathic Emphatic Nature Communion. I see Eden Spacecrafts rebooting the (Eco-)System. At stake: Simple Future Hi-tech; Grounded Earth Tech. *See some of my sketches further down this page.

Green Man

The breathtaking duo Pinar&Viola digitally crafted a stained glass emblem for the Chapel of Wild Wisdom, featured as the Avatar of itallcomesdowntoearth.com ... The Leaf Face is that of the Greenman – the one who speaks to me with flashing signals in the corner of my eye whenever I spend eons in the forest. His story alone could fill an entire blog, for is has brought inspiration and exhilaration without limitation – trickling through our cultural history as far back as Osiris, Bacchus and Pan. He is also present in cultures faraway from the European soils and in lots of backyards too. To me, Greenman is the Sacred Masculine that could not step forth during Capitalism. The one hiding in the Foliage on each depiction of the Virgin and the Child, awaiting a new Homeostatis on Earth before he can truly be Seen. Pacha Papa and Father to Horus, Immaculate partner to those who Birth the Sacred in their (Creative) Wombs. Isis's Lover, Cut Up to be Put Back Together.....oh don't get me started! Let me leave you the Deep Ecological Poison Craft of Dale Pendell to further navigate this Deep Eco-Cultural Treasure. For now, let's zoom back to the Grove 2.0 that appeared in Tilburg, shall we? The Greenman was presented there as a wood engraving, co-produced with the Fablab in Amsterdam.


How did we build it?

The space had to function as both a greenhouse for (local) herbs & poisons as well as a space for meditation and self-reflection too. The knowledge presented would be unnamed varieties of plant life and the wisdom we hold inside of ourselves – there was no map for either of these. "Uncataloged we tap into Wild Wisdom".

The dome, with a foundation of branches, erected in wood and plastic-sheets, contained varieties of wild species found at park De Oude Warande (Tilburg, NL) but also some rogue misfits from the gardening center. Afterall, Permaculture is all about inclusivity.

While there were no floating metallic objects or lazer lights, we did have Automated Thermo Hatches operated by the expanding/retracting nature of Beeswax. Seeds were sown, cuttings planted, paths and seats created.

For the rest I envisioned this 2.0 Knowledge Center to evolve organically throughout the course of the exhibition, reviving and revamping through an art-installation our kinship with the surrounding elements of nature. And so it did.

Disclaimer: I have done my very best to not harm the Kingdom of the Elves by announcing to them each time a Fern would be re-located. Unfortunately some have indeed died in the process, as did a lot of the Moss.

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Together with the tender and precise hand of Sieger Duinkerken a first ring of branches was woven around deeply anchored pine pillars – hammered down the forest floor. Then, with some bigger tools and assistance, the plant bed on the interior was raised. Jonmar Vlijmen from the Onkruidenier winged by and took us on a cosy heirloom- & exotic plant hunt.

We collected varieties which I intuitively planted in the circumference of the plantbed. Then, the main dome was installed with the help of the Greenspan-man; kite-like parts put together formed a sphere larger than 4 meters in diameter. Because of the raised edge, the center of the dome was over 2,5 meters tall. Exactly in this middle, Sieger and I sculpted a Herb Spiral – a traditional garden design feature. Kinda like a fountain of greenery, with some Opiate Poppies, Delphinium and Morning Glory as the crown-features – for Full Moon nights, so to say – alongside of Chamomile, Plantain, Great Horseshoe, burdock and other more common kinds.

Plants in the Grove:

  • Klein hoefblad
  • Sint Janskruid
  • Gulden roede
  • Varen
  • Ridderzuring
  • Reuzespringbalsemien
  • Gewone bereklauw
  • Smalle weegbree
  • Grote weegbree
  • Paardebloem
  • Brandnetel
  • Kamille
  • Bijvoet
  • Mos
  • Blauwe winde
  • Ridderspoor (Delphinium)
  • Gele roos
  • Lavendel
  • Echinacea
  • Framboos
  • Wijnruit
  • Munt
  • Pompoen
  • Lievevrouwebedstroo
  • Oosterse klaproos
  • Vrouwenmantel

Reception, Collaboration, After-Life

The Chapel welcomed many visitors of the woodland park: joggers, hikers, dog-people, night time people and I'd hope some teenage pagans too. Brand Heek led a group of meditators, in grounding and breathing exercises and the Woodward also spotted various others having quiet moments with themselves throughout the season. Not to forget: near the end of the project I led a super special GRATITUDE CEREMONY, in which 4 performers gave water and love to the Woodlands, supported by a Harp Solo from Maia Lyon Daw. More about 'Gratitude – Watering the Woodlands'here.

The initial idea that each frame of the greenhouse can serve as an individual ever-changing panel/canvas/painting was understood by people on INSTAGRAM – each phone digi-graphed the Earthy Artwork into a new representation, Outliving the Original. On each moment of each day, the play of Light and Moisture gave a different Shade to the Milky White Sheet of Horticultural Film while the Shoots of Growing and Receding Silhouettes would write their Poetry by either Shading or Touching the membrane. Oh and the insects, the water droplets, the bits of dirt...! Photographs of all of this now meet fingers swiping down on glass telephones. Stinging Nettle Transpires at 4:03pm on the Left side of the Flowerbed. Microbiome doubling as an antidepressant. Airplane mode is ineffective in the Grove.

I'm deeply touched that my garden, ANY GARDEN, has been re-graphed and forwarded so much. I dig that... the project was additionally featured at Metropolis M, NRC newspaper and Tubelight. Plus some additional cool personal/art blogs by visitors. And yes: at the end of 2017 the directors of the Lustwarande wanted the piece removed, for the Woodland had to be returned to it's original state. It was a painful process, with as much conscious plant-cycling as possible. But for now the Grove 2.0 lies dormant and ready to pop-up once more somewhere in the Rhyzomatic Terrain of life and new opportunities. Do contact me if you want this piece to be featured at your institute!

With peace and endless strawberries,

Your Peace Journalist


Grove 2.0, Chapel of Wild Wisdom deliberately creates a cross-pollination between ancient paganism and the modern reassessment of ecological awareness. Employing a greenhouse as a sacred meeting place is a statement. Like much of my 'oeuvre', the project is in line with many modern tendencies to re-install a balanced and intimate relationship between humans and the earth, which to me is an ongoing re-vamping of an ancient matriarchal nature path moving through the Undercroft of Capitalism like a Deep Green Virus of Life! May the mold and fungus always win from the assholes. Amen.

Thank you: Lustwarande -- Platform for Contemporary Sculpture, Sieger Duinkerken, Pinar&Viola, Wiseguys - Urban Art Projects, Jonmar Vlijmen and also Marleen, Esther, Jan, Tommy and the Douglas trees. Thanks Liedeke Kruk, Gert Jan van Rooij, Domeniek Ruyters for the photos on this page. Gratitude to the sponsors of de Lustwarande 2017, CBK Rotterdam and the Mondriaan Fund for initial support in my research year leading up to Grove 2.0. Oh and yeah, special thanks to: Dale Pendell and his animation of Wild Wisdom and the Green Man.

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