Purification of Fagus Sylvatica var pendula: The glass still is assembled, and pipe connection are made to the still’s dispensing bulb. Photo: Janette Beckman. 2001
Purification of Fagus Sylvatica var pendula: The left hand of the figure touches the secondary chamber of the still, prior to placing the smokestack in position. Photo: Janette Beckman. 2001.
Purification of Fagus Sylvatica var pendula, A single name is carefully attached to each of the seven living beech trees. Photo: Janette Beckman 2001.
Purification of Fagus Sylvatica var pendula: A single name is carefully attached to each of the seven living beech trees. Photo: Janette Beckman. 2001.
Purification of Fagus Sylvatica var pendula: A water transfer pump is used to circulate water through the names of the Pleiades; this is the cooling agent for the still. Photo: Janette Beckman. 2001.
Purification of Fagus Sylvatica var pendula: With a lighted taper in hand the figure ignites the smoke buoy and oxygenates the furnace by blowing air through a pipe. Photo: Janette Beckman. 2001.
Purification of Fagus Sylvatica var pendula: The distillation requires delicate orchestration. The figure monitors the quantity of smoke entering the still, the heat, the flow of water determining the degree of cooling, and the transference of the distillate into the central chamber for secondary refining. Photo: Janette Beckman. 2001. See Edition
Purification of Fagus Sylvatica var pendula: Pavilion housing the glass borosilicate distillation still and the equipment used in the performance Purification. Installed in Weeping Beech park, Queens, New York. 2001 See Books
Purification of Fagus Sylvatica var pendula: Front view of the Borosilicate glass distillation still taken before the performance Purfication. 2001
Purification of Fagus Sylvatica var pendula: The figure removes the names of the Pleiades from the seven living beeches and repositions them around the mother stump, adding to each star’s name its astronomical coordinates. The second circulation of water now takes place between the pavilion and the mother stump. Photo: Janette Beckman. 2001 See Book
Purification of Fagus Sylvatica var pendula. An engraved beechnut from this historic Weeping beech tree encapsulated in a crystal of Guiacole artificially educed, from the distillate garnered from the original performance. 2001
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ABOUT PURIFICATION OF FAGUS SYLVATICA VAR PENDULA (2001)
The Purification of Fagus Sylvatica Var Pendula is a descriptive performance and installation, which immediately followed, documenting the transformation of the smoke of the oldest weeping beech tree (Fagus Sylvatica Var Pendula) in North America into a preservative agent.
The site for the project was the Historic Weeping beech park in Queens New York, a small intimate garden on the grounds of Kingsland house.
Regrettably the stump is all that remained, as shortly after this venerable tree’s 150th anniversary in 1997, it died and was cut down. The tree had, however spawned seven progeny, which still grow in a circle around the original beech.
The Photo series and film viewer describe the first stages of the distillation a leafed apparition using a specially constructed glass still, and smoke buoy, initially attaches seven glass names to the seven existing beeches circling the original mother stump, the names are those of the Pleiades. The seven daughters of Pleione and Atlas: Alcyone, Celaeno, Electra, Maia, Merope, Sterope, and Taygete By circulating water through these names an antiseptic distillate was obtained from condensing the smoke.
The second stage took place in a specially constructed pavilion. Over a two-month period the liquid distillate undergoes a purification process, yielding a crystal of Guaiacol, a derivative of creosote seeded around an engraved beechnut. After the leafed apparition had extracted a quantity of the antiseptic distillate, the still was allowed to cool and the seven glass names adorning the seven trees were removed from their trunks. The glass names re-appeared, installed around the girth of the parent stump accompanied by their precise star co-ordinates on June 1, 2001, the day the performance took place.
During the crystallization, as the distillate is circulating through the star co-ordinates it accumulates around its ‘seed’, in this case a beechnut. It forms an insulating blanket, preserving the life seed of this historic American treasure Crystallization is a purifying process: by using the saturated solution to adhere to a ‘seed’, like a grain of sand in an oyster, a pure crystal maybe obtained, as the solution will always seek to sequester itself, and accumulate, as mother of pearl is layered upon itself to form an even larger pearl.
This project was a direct response to the site and was intended, as homage to this historic tree the ephemeral nature of the crystal growing and layering of mythology needs further explanation. See Editions The Purification of Fagus Sylvatica Var Pendula. Published by Coracle/Granery Press New York.