Fruitless Grafting


Tiki Mulvihill, Fruitless Grafting, Site-Specific installation at Carkeek Park, Seattle WA

Part of ‘Rootbound:  Heaven & Earth 4, CoCA

An orchard marks a compelling intersection between nature and culture, a place where humans attempt to propagate copious quantities of fruit through controlling strategies of grafting and pruning. 

The addition and subtraction of limbs and branches result in a unique articulation of branches with an eccentric tendency for bends and twists.  Over years of growth and production the resultant contortions reflect a tree’s ability to adjust and overcome natural and human interventions.

The installation ‘Fruitless Grafting’ combines components from nature (green-waste) and culture (copper-flashing and piping) to create a new hybrid which both mimics and acknowledges the orchard-tree form and its historic footprint.  The adaptive responsive nature of the hybrids within this historic orchard, acknowledge those aged plantings still present in our current natural tracts and parks intersecting urban areas.

In contrast to the upward thrust of natural trees, these new hybrids gracefully bow down, gravitating towards the earth; perhaps listening to the conversation below-ground through a network of ancient roots, while succumbing to the gentle slope of the site. These grafts’ propagate no spoils. Splicing proves in vain and the harvest fruitless, but the hybrids express a yearning to reconnect with the land, characteristic of urbanites desire to lay down roots and live with nature.  Over the course of the installation, the constructed copper components continue to oxidize, assuming a green patina camouflaged within the environment. 

This installation underlines the dichotomy between the natural and the fabricated.

Tiki Mulvihill, Carkeek Park, Seattle, Washington, 2012

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