How Can You Be Alive You Growths of Spring?

  • Homo/Humus details a microcosm of the life cycle by showing compost in various stages of decay and renewal. The first stage is the set up of a compost bin containing worms, rotting food scraps, paper and dead leaves. Eventually the organic material is consumed by the worms and turned into nutrient-rich compost. Next, I add actual parts of my body to the heap in the form of sloughed-off skin, fingernails and hair. The worms then consume this matter too and a plant is grown out of the resulting compost/dirt, bringing the cycle to a new beginning. The title, Homo/Humus, points to the fact that the Latin words for human and dirt are etymologically related as are the physical components of both. This piece was inspired, in part, by Helen Chadwick’s Carcass, an installation consisting of an enormous, clear container full of compost. In her own words “What better metaphor for life, than life itself?” Homo/Humus adds another dimension to ordinary compost by incorporating physical elements of the human body, simultaneously a modern-day Vanitas and a hopeful reminder of the eternity of life.