Seed Scattering: Reclining

Olivia Laing

The Lonely City

She has evoked the dilapidated piers of New York City as both site of danger and utopia. Especially for David Wojnarowicz. One passage is not only poignant but also perversely powerful — a favourite picture as icon.

Years before, David used to buy grass seed from a store on Canal Street and roam the piers scattering it in handfuls, Johnny Appleseed in sneakers, wanting to make something beautiful from the rubble. My favourite picture of him showed him lounging on a meadow he'd planted in one of the abandoned baggage or departure halls: grass scattered with debris, grass growing out of disintegrating plaster and particles of soil. Anonymous art, unsignable art, art that was about transformation, about alchemising what was otherwise only waste.
And Laing doesn't reproduce the picture. We are left to imagine.

And so for day 1595