Odiseo Issue 10: Utopia and Dystopia
Odiseo, published by Folch Design Studios, blurs the line between fine art photography and erotica. They strive for an intellectual seduction, though both visual media and essays. Their tenth issue delves into the contradictory and complimentary notions of utopia and dystopia.
The following is an excerpt of feature essay Daughters of Flora, by Holographia's creative director, Liberty Lawson.
We had tamed the grasses, but floods and droughts would test us, and we grew tired of falling to our knees to beg for her mercy. We came to realise that our Mother Nature wasn't Eden, she was Eve. Primordially disobedient. Beyond our control.
And so, we began to weed her out.
In the florist, roses would be bought single, or by the dozen. White lilies were sent vased, with condolences. Some afternoons, loud men would come in to agonise over an extravagant bouquet, ashing an expensive watch as they dictated long, cryptic card messages to me over the counter. Occasionally, a week or two later, they would come back, tail between their legs, to buy another bunch - this time for their wife. During prom season, I’d twist tiny spray roses into corsages, with wires camouflaged under satin ribbon that matched the “uh, like, blue? I think?” description of the date’s dress. Tulips would go to Mothers in Law, “thank you so much for having us to dinner (and please try not to think about me making love to your daughter)”. But those orchids. There was something about them. More than an object to express a desire, or to receive with gratitude. They were the desire. Too delicate to be tossed in the air and snatched at by bridesmaids, too intimate to give to your child’s piano teacher at the end of the term. Humans had been breeding orchids for hundreds of years to be this perfect, and I knew the orchids in our window were airbrushed nymphoids, far removed from their wild sisters. But still, there was something primally, hypnotically provocative about their snow white petals and buttery cheeks.
Marcel Proust adopted cattelyas as a metaphor for non-conjugal relations — socially impermissible in the 19th century, but none-the-less frequent. Georgia O’Keefe and Robert Maplethorpe captured something lascivious between petals, and even Beyoncé, in her recent film, Lemonade, uses time-lapse shots of an orchid, flexing into full bloom to evoke the carnality of the feminine form. Kant, Freud, and perhaps even Darwin saw that what our obsession with flowers reflect is our obsession with us. We are desperate for Nature’s attention, desperate to be her protagonist, desperate enough to tie her up and force her to obey us. They saw that our hybrid, greenhoused fabrications remove the wild threat of Nature, and still satisfy our craving to tame a part of her. But cut flowers always wilt, and even the magnificent orchids we have bred today are a fading res extensa, pale ghosts of their wild sisters
Odiseo Volume 10 can be ordered online from Folch Studio.