Inquilines is an exploration of meeting points, thoughts and ideas around nature and contemporary art: green space, municipal parks, landscape, flowers, flower power, language, nesting, herbaceous borders, staring, stalking, singing, growing, enthusiasm – essentially art and culture meeting environmental practices; cultivation of all kinds. The subject area and my interest in it immediately escalates to include insects, animals and birds, nature-human-culture; you can’t have one thing without the other.
Yes, an accumulation of things that interest me.
Inquilines has expanded out from its initial horticultural starting point back in 2011 to an interest in broader contemporary art-nature contexts that include metropolitan parks, urban green spaces and networks, and in the systems and exchanges that circulate between us and how we live. So the ‘second menu’ on the site is dedicated to the urban green space and the projects and people that connect it: PARKS and ….
But I like to keep thinking about the inquiline, as somehow it serves as a good and useful background to the areas of seeing, participating and being. Here is something about the term from Wikipedia:
This definition was on Wikipedia in 2011:
Inquilinism is “an association between members of two different species in which one, the inquiline, lives on or in the other (the host), or inside the host’s home, obtaining shelter and in some instances taking some of the host’s food. For example, certain mosquitoes live and breed in the fluid contained in the pitchers of pitcher plants, benefiting from the protection afforded by the pitcher and also making use of nutrients from prey trapped by the plant. The nest of many social insects harbour inquilines, which have evolved ingenious strategies to gain food or avoid being attacked, as evidenced by the staphylinid beetle Atemeles pubicollis. As a larva this lives in ant colonies, adopting the `begging’ posture of ant larvae in order to receive food from adult ants.”
This definition is on Wikipedia in 2016:
In zoology, an inquiline (from Latin inquilinus, “lodger” or “tenant”) is an animal that lives commensally in the nest, burrow, or dwelling place of an animal of another species. For example, some organisms such as insects may live in the homes of gophers and feed on debris, fungi, roots, etc. The most widely distributed types of inquiline are those found in association with the nests of social insects, especially ants and termites – a single colony may support dozens of different inquiline species.
So I’m exploring being an inquiline in relation to nature. I’m part of it all, but somehow I’m looking at it from the outside too. I can’t get a bird’s eye view, only an imaginative angle from high up. I’m seeking shelter, living inside the social nests, in the bud of the Allium Sicilum (Sicilian honey garlic) trying to avoid the crab spider’s long arms and deathly puncture. I’m in the primordial soup trying to comprehend how it all works and relates – feeding, looking, composting, making use of nutrients in all forms, avoiding attack and wound wherever possible, while adopting discreet ‘begging postures’ in order to participate in the sublime. I’m aiming to be right inside the awe and wonder, to ‘eat at the same table’. And to have the robin feed from my hand in the back garden so I get to feel that incredible weightlessness and look into the brightest blackest eye.
Sue Palmer is a contemporary artist and producer working across media and form, making things with people, places and nature.