JENNY YURSHANSKY                                                                  






This project investigates the distinction between native versus invasive species as determined by Artsdatabanken (The Species Database), a Norwegian scientific organization. In 2012 Artsdatabanken published an updated edition of the Black List. This list names nearly 2,500 species of flora and fauna as invasive in Norway and categorizes their threat levels from Very High to Unknown. The cultural bias that plays into the scientific criteria and discourse around how, why, and by whom these plants are considered to be invasive are the project’s focus.

Semantically the use of such terms as invasive and native are loaded. The direct correlation between human population shifts that occur at politically determined borders, rather than those determined by biomes, and the introduction vectors of these species is an area that warrants illumination. The reasons for identifying alien species vary from their being unwelcome because of their competitiveness with native flora and fauna or those cultivated for commercial or aesthetic purposes.

I collected, studied, and researched the 168 plants that are described as invasive in northern Norway. In the summer of 2012 I was artist-in-residence on a forestry farm and by limiting my search to the bounds of the property, I found a total of 62 plants that were on the Black List.

I dug up and re-planted these invasive species. By setting the plants up on a table with a bright light to illuminate them, I was able to photograph their changing shadows on a daily basis for nearly a month. These photographs have been transformed into one composite image and then printed as a slide. The installation is a life-size projection of the plant's shadows, back-projected, onto the same screen which I originally cast their shadows onto. This projection holds the memory of their shadows and the absence of the physical plants is clearly defined. 


Blacklisted: A Planted Allegory (Asylum)




Slide projector, 35mm slide, screen


46” x 77” x 197”

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© JENNY YURSHANSKY