lights camera sound actions | time-based contemporary art

Le jardin de Jacques Cartier (1995)

This proposed artist’s garden was never realized. It was one of three works which used a text from The Voyages of Jacques Cartier titled, How By God’s Grace We Received Knowledge of a Tree Which Cured Us and Gave Back Health To All the Sick; and the Manner of Using It. This text was used also in the performance, Theatrum Silvaticae (1992) and the installation, Breath and the Heart, Listen (1994).

Jardin de Jacques

The tree in the text is thought to be white cedar which I presumed to be Thuja occidentalis since it is native to central Canada. (See range here.) It is actually not part of the cedar genus and is often called arborvitae, which is Latin for Tree of Life.

The text describes how the Haudenosaunee saved the lives of Cartier’s men with cedar tea.

Thereupon Dom Agaya sent two women with our Captain to gather some of it; and they brought back nine or ten branches. They showed us how to grind the bark and the leaves and to boil the whole in water. Of this one should drink every two days, and place the dregs on the legs where they were swollen and affected. According to them this tree cured every kind of disease. They called it in their language Annedda.

The Voyages of Jacques Cartier. University of Toronto Press. Toronto. 1993. 80

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