Art of Perestroika vs. Colliguaja odorifera

Art of Perestroika

I’m no history expert (in fact, in grade eight I almost failed history due to a piss-poor essay about glasnost and perestroika, and have remained a little spooked by those words ever since), but I do know that any time period that spawned an art group called the Battle Elephants is pretty damn awesome. Perestroika was a turbulent time in Russian history (well, what wasn’t a turbulent time in Russian history?), so its artists had a lot to work with. And they had to be extra badass because of fears of censorship!

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot I can tell you about the Battle Elephants, including what their art looked like, since a Google image search for “battle elephants” mainly turns up pictures of elephants fighting. However, one of the members of the Battle Elephants, Eugeny Zhilinsky, ended up in Toronto, where he is still working as an artist. He and his wife have an adorable blog.

Another major art group during Perestroika was Mitki, which seems to be an art movement based on a book of absurdist essays. Their slogan is “The Mitki don’t want to defeat anybody, which is why they will end up ruling the world.” They also lasted long after Perestroika, although their website hasn’t been updated in over three years.

Perestroika seemed to inspire several artists who left Russia for Europe or North America after the fall of Communism and ended up finding success as professional artists. How can some stinky lignotuber even compare?


Colliguaja odorifera

It doesn't need your help, thank you very much

All right, time to tell you I was always terrible at biology. I may’ve faked my way through defending euastrum but in this case I can’t even guess at a pronunciation. According to Wikipedia, Colliguaja odorifera is “a lignotuberous species of the family Euphorbiacae.” The medical definition is “a woody swelling (HA! … sorry, couldn’t help it) below or just above the ground, containing adventitious buds from which new shoots develop if the top of the plant is cut or burnt.”

Basically, they send out new growth if topgrowth is destroyed. The stems stems can also store additional nutrients to support a period of growth in the absence of photosynthesis. So basically, Mother Nature’s way of adapting to man-made climate change and idiots setting off forest fires. I know what you’re thinking, “Where can I see this marvel of nature?” Well, Colliguaja odorifera are typically found in Chile. So to learn more, we naturally turn to the good people at Chile Flora – where you can order seeds of it! Awesome! And judging by their descriptions, Colliguaja odorifera is the type of plant where it pretty much takes care of itself. Forgot to water it for five months? No problem! On top of all this, Chile Flora claims it is useful for medicinal purposes. I don’t know what these medicinal purposes might be (don’t try anything silly) but I’m still intrigued by the multi-purposes, tenacity and longevity of this fine shrub.

Unlike some trendy art movement that you can casually abandon after four years (that lasted long! … If you would’ve told me a few months ago that I’d be debating the merits of a Chilean plant to a Russian art movement …).

Published in: on January 21, 2010 at 10:42 am  Leave a Comment  

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