Plitvice Botany was multimedia art project between myself and my longtime collaborator and best friend J Mundok that began with my visit to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, a world heritage site located in central Croatia. Plitvice is a wonderland of blue-green waterfalls and mineral lakes full of sunken petrified trees visible up to 50 yards underwater, all surrounded by lush, ferny forests that are seemingly transported from the Jurassic era. I spent two days photographing the forests and waterfalls on analog film - both 120 film and Super 8, which I developed on my return to the U.S. a few weeks later. The natural otherworldly aesthetic of film photography was a perfect way to capture the alien landscapes of Plitvice, and lent itself to the esoteric formalism of the multimedia triptych Plitvice Botany 2, 3, & 4: a unique set of wood and plexiglass artwork comprised of photos mounted to wood panels with silkscreened images on the photos, with overlapping plexiglass panels also with silkscreened with geometric designs, all fastened together to create a three dimensional object.
The triptych was purchased by Mundok in 2015, which he hung on the wall in his recording studio. He was inspired by the aesthetics of the series enough to compose and record a three-song EP of atmospheric ambient music titled Plitvice Botany, based on the three pieces in the installation.
On J's Bandcamp page he describes the album as "..analog and digital instrumentation is layered with ritual geometric loops, and the whispering grass of field recordings. Plitvice Botany evokes the mysterious nature of the ancient Croatian forest for those that take the journey."
I silkscreened some of the geometric elements on the packaging for a limited edition CD release of the album, and J produced a short promotional podcast that intersperses snippets of the songs with recordings of J and I discussing the ideological underpinnings of the project. I've always liked the way J wrote about the project in his press release for the CD:
"The symbiotic relationship between visual art and music gives auteurs in both mediums a deep well from which to draw inspiration, which can sometimes lead to direct interpretation. For instance, Stephen Sondheim based his musical Sunday in the Park with George on Georges Seurat’s painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grand Jatte, while Walt Disney’s animated classic Fantasia pays tribute to seven of the great composers of classical music through the magic of Disney’s animated visuals."
For the final part of the project, I produced a short video piece that mirrors the geometric aesthetic of the Plitvice triptych, featuring the super 8 film I shot in Plitvice in place of the photos used in the series. The short clip uses the song Plitvice 4 from the album.