Linda Tegg

Melbourne, Australia

Looking back at this work and forward to my current practice, I’m imagining multispecies publics, places where multiple lifeforms can gather, be together, and touch each other.

Linda Tegg’s work explores the world as natural made cultural (and cultural made natural again) through her ecological interventions. Much of her practice brings animals and plants into human-built spaces in unexpected and visually compelling ways. Her projects Grasslands (2014) in Australia and Infield in Sweden (2020) return city sites back to the verdant places they once were by installing native grasses in ways that create impromptu, seasonal landscapes. In doing so, Tegg’s works reconnect places with the creatures that historically formed them over time, and, in turn, people with those places and creatures long lost to the swell of urban development. By reintroducing diverse species temporarily, Tegg’s living installations feel almost illusory, evoking a sense of wonder and inviting us to reconsider what our connections to place and non human persons have been and could be. — AY


Making Kin Categories


As a Creative Fellow at that State Library of Victoria, I simply asked: What lived here before? As an artist, I searched the library’s pictures collection. While I came across architectural plans so comprehensive that one could rebuild the library, I was left looking into the background of three colonial paintings for a clue of what lived there before. It felt like an unforgivable blindspot. Through Gary Presland’s historical research, I came to learn of a lost grassland and sought to return it to the site, wanted to see if those plants could somehow grow back there again, and if conditions could be found where those same grasses might co-exist with the State’s collection of cultural artifacts.  John Delpratt and I grew an endangered plant community for which I originally had no mental image. We then brought it back into proximity with the site and the colonial picture collection. — LT


Play Video
— an interview with artist Linda Tegg about Infield

In the summer of 2020, I shifted the ground at the entrance of the ArkDes (Sweden’s national center for architecture and design) from asphalt car park, to a biodiverse meadowland that will accumulate life over the season. Humans are invited to join this assemblage, and spend time amongst the thousands of plants and other life forms (birds, insects, fungi) to simply experience being together in a shared time and place.  The familiar plants are representative of Sweden’s infield meadows. An infield sits between worlds. If abandoned, it returns to forest or lost to the processes of industrialization and urbanism. In pre-modern times, it was at center the of the agricultural system that transformed Europe. In the contemporary condition, an infield is a remnant of that organizing structure — a space where intensive human plant interactions can be seen as positively associated with biodiversity. Sweden’s remnant infields are among the most species rich plant communities on Earth. — LT

Artist Reflection —
With Grasslands, my interest was sparked by a local concern. I was curious to explore what the State Library of Victoria replaced in its founding. What other life forms had occupied the grounds of that building? Working and thinking with grasslands led me to consider how humanity approaches the world-for-itself, or for us; the impulses, instruments, and frameworks of colonization are at play everywhere. The camera is certainly in line with that same mentality of control and I constantly wrestle with that awareness in my work. Working with grassland plants prompted me to shift my focus to the background. From its inception, Infield was conceptualized with a particular role for performative caretakers who would act as the human component of the work. Making care visible and public was a key aspect of the work, situating human communication from a particular perspective of embodied care—rather than an educational or institutional. This is reflected in the choice of plant community—the infield’s biodiversity is a product of centuries of human care. The performative aspect of this work is informed by my own experiences caring for living artworks.
The fact that these artworks are made at all is testament to the plant’s right to be there. The making of this work expanded my understanding of who might form a public, and who has the right to be where. Looking back at this work and forward to my current practice, I’m imagining multispecies publics—places where multiple lifeforms can gather, be together, and touch each other.

About Linda Tegg

Linda Tegg is an Australian artist who makes work out of inhabiting and reconfiguring the conditions of spectatorship. Within her immersive installations, plants, animals, images, and the built environment are brought into unlikely proximities to generate new points of orientation and relation. This speculative work questions the impulses and methods used to frame the world as resource and seeks new forms of coexistence. Tegg’s artwork engages with cultural institutions as well as public space and has been widely exhibited in Australia, the United States, and Europe. In 2018, Tegg was the Co-Creative Director, with Baracco+Wright Architects, of “Repair,” the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Kindred Artists