Holy Faux Flora

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Holy Faux Flora

Olivia Hamilton

“I’ve never seen a fake flower that I thought was real!”
 

Olivia Hamilton; music by Pedro Vituri

Interview by L. Valena

 

So, first of all, tell me what you responded to.

I got a song- a piece of audio, called 'Citrus Bliss', that was about a minute long. I listened to it maybe a hundred times- it's so good! And what I kept thinking about was this holiness- there are drum beats, and kind of chanting in the background, and then the squishing of an orange or a lemon. So, I had all these ideas making something involving citrus, because it's the only think I could think about. But then I thought, that if I took the project outside of the citrus realm, there could maybe be more interesting things that happen later on. So instead I focused on that sort of sense of fake holiness. This 'AHH!' moment about an orange, or something really mundane. I mean, an orange is great, but...

[Laughs]

So, that's kind of where my idea came from- I made a video that goes along with the song.

And your subject is a fake flower. Can you talk about that?

I love fake flowers, I talk about them a lot, because they're just this hilariously horrible rendition of something that's supposed to symbolize love and beauty, peace and nature. And it's just so obviously the biggest failure, and it's kind of heartening because of that. I've never seen a fake flower that I thought was real! So I decided to use just one, and I made a little cast resin cube that I stuck it into so it could stand. I just thought- I think the video is really funny, I don't know if other people will think it's really funny, but I just wanted to fit this sort of sad, trying to be holy, thing, in all these different situations, in a dismal cityscape. So I filmed it on a rainy day, of this kind of sad, shaky, kind of beautiful little flower just kind of shaking in the wind and rain. It may have gotten a little off-track when deciding what to do.

No- that's what this is all about- just kind of going with it! I love this idea of finding holiness in the mundane, and then kind of moving that into the realm of the fake flower.

Yeah, it's supposed to be funny.

My favorite part of the video is how perfectly synchronized everything is. It's freaking incredible- you got every little sound effect.

I'm so glad! I rearranged them like 100 times to try to get them to line up right.

Can you talk to me more about fake flowers?

First of all, I love toys, and I love objects, and that's great, but it can also be a pain because I collect so much stuff. And the fake flower is this thing- this object that lasts forever, that supposed to represent something that can die so quickly. But once again, it never quite does the job right.

It gets most of the way there.

Yeah, but you still know it's fake, and you still know it's plastic, and you still know that it's super cheap. But you kind of get the idea of what it's trying to do, which is really funny- really adorable, and really pathetic, in a good way. I had a professor tell me that I love pathetic things, and I think that's true.

What is it about pathetic things that is so interesting to you?

Maybe things that are loveable for all the wrong reasons.

I think fake flowers are really interesting, but I've also spent a lot of time thinking about fake food. Like, a fake flower still does the same thing that a real flower does- it still sits in a vase, and you look at it- it does the same job. But fake food, the primary role of food is for eating, and that is the one thing you cannot do with fake food.

Yes! And in Japan, they have stores dedicated to fake food. You can buy like fake slices of bamboo root, or one raspberry, or shrimp tempura. I have a photo- I'll send it to you.

I love that you've been to one of those stores, on your travels! Do you have any advice for anyone else embarking on this project?

I listened to it probably 10 times in the first day, sat on it for a day, wrote down a whole bunch of different ideas for what to do, and then sort of kept pushing the idea further and further away from where I started. In an effort to kind of push the project along- if I had done a video of squeezing oranges, it may have stayed stagnant for a little too long. So taking the bigger themes that I thought about when I heard the music, and making something different was helpful for me. I definitely had a lot of fun with it- since I just finished my thesis, I thought this would be a fun thing, and not to put too much pressure on it, and it ended up being really enjoyable.


Call Number: C6MU | C9FI.haHo


The farther I go

the less I pack.

I need the space to collect all the things

I might find.

- Olivia Hamilton