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︎︎︎DEADLINE archive

Fences at Little Oak Spring, Upperville, Virginia, 2023

Chestnut forest around 1900

American Chestnut, 1909, 1910, 1911

Slaves cotton pickers and foreman on horse about 1850

Open the facts circle, a series of uncertainties, 


A plague wants to spread

The American chestnut was the dominant species in the southern United States. It was wiped out in 40 years by a plague imported in the Asian Chestnuts tree in 1904 to New York City.

Since its first discovery at the Bronx Zoo, the plague killed around 4 million trees in 40 years, transforming the landscape, ecosystem, and social relationships.

The extinction also puts an end to several species of insects and animals that live and feed on chestnuts.

The space once occupied by chestnuts has slowly and persistently been taken over by other species such as white oak and red oak.

Like a  piece of pie 

In rural Virginia, the trunks of American chestnuts were cut into two or four pieces, shaped like a "pie". Due to their lightness and long-lasting wood they were used for fences and were placed on the stone walls that divided and delimited the land.

The trunks protect the legs of the horses that can jump over the mounds.

Virginia has a history of horsemen, fox hunting and human slavery. Cotton or tobacco was grown in fields with slave labor.

At the end of the Civil War (1865) approximately 4 million slaves were freed.

Most of the productive fields ceased production and the owners accustomed to slavery based economy sold their land.

Institutional Uncertainty

There are some chestnut trees that still grow in the forests but when they reach a certain maturity the fungus colonizes them and kills them.

Various human organizations are experimenting with the recovery of chestnut trees. The American Chestnuts Society managed to generate a genetically modified version of 90% American chestnut and 10% Japanese chestnut. These species gave positive results against the fungus and have started afforestation work.

Perhaps the American Chestnut is also strategizing for its resurgence, testing with each bud how to defeat its killer.

Vertical uncertainty

Copper is one of the best conductors of electricity (second only to silver).
Thanks to its high electrical conductivity, ductility and malleability, it is the most widely used material for the manufacture of electrical cables and other electrical elements.

It was one of the first metals to be used by humans in prehistoric times.

Copper and its alloys are used to make objects as diverse as coins, bells, and cannons.

Copper plays an important biological role in the photosynthesis process of plants and contributes to the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of blood vessels, nerves, the immune system and bones, making it essential for human life.

Deadline uncertainty

The installation is made up of a series of 34 sculptures constructed of eroded chestnut trunks, copper wire and iron rods.

The installation proposes two encounters: from far, the observer sees a straight line of 75 feet long, that creates a vertical gridfacing the Bluer rage Mountains.

At the edge of the sidewalk, a small path invites the visitor to get closer to the work, to end up discovering an undulating path and a tour through the sculptures.

A line for the eye. A movement for the body. A construction of the landscape.

Chestnut / Oak Spring Garden Foundation, June 2023

Plaque in Fletcher Cemetery, Little Oak Spring, Upperville, Virginia, 2023

Chestnuts log fencing on rock piles at Rockeby road, Upperville, Virginia, 2023

Chestnuts, New York City, 2023