Pruned has been posting some great things lately, but yesterday's feature just blew me away: it's a tropical garden by artist Marc Quinn, whose flowers "are immersed in twenty-five tons of liquid silicon kept at a constant temperature of -80˚ Celsius." (Though that should read silicone – the same material used in breast implants...)
The silicone has the effect of freezing time: the flowers, though dead, will never decay. (Till someone turns the refrigerator off).
They've been mummified. An entire landscape has been mummified.
As Quinn himself explains, using all lowercase and some interesting punctuation: "those who visited the installation found themselves, thanks to mirrors, in a garden of infinite beauty and immortality. an enviroment created by plants from various continents -asia, africa-europe- and from different seasons, beauty that doesn’t decay. a perfect image beyond botany itself. these flowers will last forever, but obviously they are dead. the installation in a 3,20 m x 12,70 m x 5,43 m stainless steel refrigerator (-20°C) is technically made of flowers frozen in a silicon oil. (which stays liquid to - 80°C and doesn’t chemically react with the flowers)"
The landscape has been embalmed.
The mind reels.
Could you embalm a riverbed, for instance, to freeze that hydrology in place, its weeds, and erosion, its gravel? Or – here's the thing: could you go round embalming natural plantlife everywhere – say a developer is encroaching upon some (relatively) untouched hills in the Cotswolds, but here you come, carrying your silicon-embalming tools, hitching up your trousers, and you freeze 5'x5'x5' cubes of the natural landscape. In place.
Museums of the remnant landscape.
Once all the houses are finally built and everyone moves in, kids find themselves playing beside cubes of mummified plantlife. Garden cubes. Landscape fossils. Embalmed landscapes.
(The trick would be to do this for millions and millions of years, like a landscape time-capsule: here, for instance, outside the BLDGBLOG head office, would be small Jurassic shrubs frozen in liquid silicon; in the middle of the Sahara you'd find tropical orchids, locked in cubes, older than the Himalayas – remnant landscapes preserved...)