"In Weed Wrestle Mark Harvey attempts to obsessive-compulsively pull invasive weed trees out of the ground along the edges of native forest in Titirangi/Laingholm.
Employing physical endurance, the work aims to reflect on fraught Pākehā colonial norms of greedy local developers clearing forest, of the ‘man alone’, the hero in the back country and associated toxic masculinity. Associated here are the efforts many of us are all taking to combat the invasive species in relation to effects of climate change. Many of the invasive plant species in Titirangi such as the Australian wattle are well-known to thrive in hotter climates and it is predicted by some that they could in time dominate over our natives in our our forests.
Some related questions Harvey attempted to investigate are as follows; Can removing such trees in such sites actually make a difference in preventing them from taking over? Or, will removing these trees reduce the lands capacity to deal with climate change? Or, will it help the ecosystem better cope with raising temperatures? (It is well-known that some of these species change the composition of the soil to prevent native revegetation and take up more water than a lot of local species)." - text supplied by the artist
Performance and concept: Mark Harvey
Camera: Daniel Strang
Editing: Daniel Strang and Mark Harvey
Commissioned for Heat, Curated by Janine Randerson and Amanda Yates at Te Uru Gallery