Farmer, hemp sativa plant, hemp herbal tea
Performer: Andrea Cenacchi, Podere Santa Croce, Argelato (BO)
Andrea Cenacchi is one of the farmers I met during the Ciò che è vivo – culture tour. That year he cultivated hemp for the first time.
Andrea arrived at Macro in Rome, the Museum of Contemporary Art, carrying with him one of his plants. He walked with the plant through the other exhibitions in the museum, as a human-plant intruder. The plant diffused in the museum its smell, which is the same as marijuana. Then he arrived in my studio and started to explain to the public the properties and uses of the plant, and handing a herbal tea made from its peaks.
My interest in this plant is due to the fact that Italy, since the ’50, was the second-world producer of this plant, which characterized Italian landscapes. Then it was forbidden to cultivate it because of an international agreement.
Hemp (cannabis sativa) is the “cousin” of marijuana, but with a very low concentration of the psychotropic substance THC. On the other hand, it has many nutritional, sensory and therapeutic properties and can be used to produce a wide range of products by exploiting every different part of a plant, with nothing wasted or discarded. For human consumption, industrial applications, textiles and clothing, paper or to make lime and hemp bricks for environmentally sustainable construction. Moreover, its growing cycle heals the land, exchanging substances that prevent weed infestations, for example. It is therefore an excellent candidate for crop rotation and, by assimilating and metabolizing heavy metals to render them inert, it is also useful for restoring the health of polluted soil. It really is a “queenly plant,” as its growers say.
> Produced and exhibit by MACRO, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Artists in Residency program, 2015