The Spread of Lantana: An Aesthetic History
Free Public Lecture
Room B1.24 (Basement)
207-221 Bouverie Street
T: (03) 8344 9395
Lantana is a plant that, like ruins and vacant lots in cities, evokes contradictory aesthetic responses. Drawing on the ideas of Walter Benjamin and other urban semioticians, we argue that lantana’s aesthetic history evokes a combination of involuntary memories associated with gardening and recognition of the impermanence and abandonment associated with capitalist culture. We trace the history of lantana’s global spread in this presentation by exploring the utopian impulses and gardening trends that shaped the identities and cultural aspirations of the urban middle-classes in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Haripriya Rangan is Associate Professor and Director, Research and Academic Programs, Australia India Institute, the University of Melbourne.