The Weight of Flowers refers to the accumulation of both tangible goods and immaterial experiences from a complex site.
While on a research trip abroad in India, we collected flower garlands from each new city we visited. Typically the garlands or "Malas" are given to deities and visitors as offerings. The flower necklaces perfumed our bodies, and produced a damp weight around our necks as they wilted. Throughout our trip, we attempted to preserve their freshness by putting them in mini-fridges, spraying them with water, and wrapping them in plastic bags. To no avail, they would take their natural course and decompose in our suitcases.
This act became a metaphor for the internal debate we had while being tourists in a country that faces extremes in economic and social status. Initially we tried to grasp on to our own pre-conceived ideas about values, culture, and systems, but ultimately those ideas dissolved, and we accepted that certain things were beyond our understanding. Using objects and visual vocabularies derived from Indian culture such as the Indian bio-scope, images of flower garlands, maps, kites, and Saris we concentrate on the experience of encountering another culture and negotiating feelings of “otherness.”