Band of Weeds

Band of Weeds

Audio and video project, 2016

The Band of Weeds is a sound art project by artists Kalle Hamm and Dzamil Kamanger. It is a fictive band, where three weeds - common wormwood (Artemisia vulgaris), dooryard dock (Rumex longifolius) and creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense) - founded a band.

All the songs are based on sound material, which is recorded directly form those plants. The used recording method is developed by Jagadish Bose in India in the 20 - 30's and Ivan Gunar in the Soviet Union in the 60 - 70's, who explored measuring techniques of electrophysiology of plants. The sounds are modified and made into to songs by musicians Lauri Ainala and Hermanni Keko.

The Band of Weeds questions plants as mute and senseless beings without any feelings, giving literally voice for the otherness. It also juxtaposes two narratives: history of Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys and history of archaeophytes arrived in Finland.

The slave trade flourished from Africa to America in the 17th-18th centuries. The blacks were needed as slave workforce in the plantations. The Afro-Americans are descendants of the slaves. The last album released by Jimi Hendrix was titled The Band of Gypsys. He didn't make it with his original band Jimi Hendrix Experience, where he was the only black musician. A new band (and the album, too) got its name from Hendrix's presentation in Woodstock, where he introduced his new band: "We are nothing but a band of gypsys". Band of Gypsys was a direction, where Hendrix wanted to develop his music: returning to the roots of black music and develop it further with black musicians.

Archaeophytes are plants, which arrived in ship cargos to Finland before the 17th century. They rooted in Finland and still flourish among us. A weed is a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation, "a plant in the wrong place". They are divided seed and root weeds depending their way of spreading. Band of Weeds is a plant band, where the weeds represent the radical other and other-than-human as well. All the members of the Band of Weeds are archaeophytes and classified as weeds in Finland. They are spread to all Finland from south to north.