Horn Of Plenty
In Horn of Plenty, an obsidian ooze emits from the open orifice of a traditional cornucopia. I wove this horn from willow shoots and cotton cord and filled its inside with cast gelatin, catalyzed with oak gall ink. Made with tannic acid, the white blood cells of oak trees, and rust, this black pigment dates back to Ancient Rome. The resulting concoction smells of blood and bone. The Magna Carta and the American Declaration of Independence are just two of the many documents inscribed with this ink. The cornucopia’s iconic shape comes from a Greek myth in which the adolescent Zeus rips the horn off the head of his nursemaid, a goat nymph named Amathea. The theft robs her of her power but provides her godly assailant with a source of limitless abundance. When he takes Amathea’s horn, Zeus severs the means of production from her body – from the feminine, from the Earth. Untethered to the limitations of the body, the horn seems to endlessly reproduce wealth and nourishment. But in my recasting of Cornucopianism, this naturalistic gateway to abundance merely beguiles man with the mirage of plenty. When women create life, they are simply mothers. When men create life, they are called gods. In a modern context, Cornucopianism maintains that technology and economics will inevitably find solutions to the problem of finite resources. Science will allow us to make more from less. Limits to growth are anathema. When a resource is depleted conquest becomes the next step to feed society’s unending hunger for more. There is no concern for ecological cycles while the economy must be maintained. Here, in a sardonic act of revenge, the horn of plenty reveals itself as finite. Its contents diminish, forcing one to reach ever deeper into the severed appendage, only to grasp in vain at the dwindling remains.