G - R - O - W - T - H

Exhibition Text

In recent years the cardboard box has appeared as a symbol of production and consumption. It is a vessel, created from wood fibres, that transports goods through increasing global networks interconnecting billions of bodies. 


Insects have evolved over millions of years to create their own technologies by pulping and processing wood fibres. The insect is often seen as an unwanted, infesting figure when it enters human space, but insects utilise wood fibres from dying trees as opposed to living ones, turning death into growth.


G - R - O - W - T - H, the title of the installation on show, features strange forms made from foraged cardboard which has been pulped by ripping, soaking in water, then blending by hand until the individual fibres begin to separate. This breakdown of form turns the material from a rigid object into a shapeless soup. Leftover pulp water appears to seep through the walls. Waste is not buried underground, but comes back to haunt us, tenaciously pushing through cracks in the room.


What we see as a decaying room, symbolises a room being reclaimed by life. The walls are alive and the walls are dying. Growth is death, and death is growth. G - R - O - W - T - H continued to evolve everyday accumulating more materials: becoming a ‘living’, consuming, growing, space. 


The sounds you hear are often silent to the human ear. They have been recorded and magnified by biologists, plant specialists and pest control exterminators and layered to form a multichannel soundscape; they are information and warning signals being shared through roots and mycelium, and by ants and termites hitting their heads against wood. 

In  G - R - O - W - T - H, a new material potential is explored through the reconstitution of waste cardboard. Combining narratives of consumption with insect behavior, this exhibition draws connections between what growth means for both human and non-human species.

Eaten Out of House and Home

​​"Maddie Rose Hills has been exploring the process of pulping within an exciting and highly original project that looks to termites and termite architectures as a means to think about our relationship to paper and cardboard consumption. Combining strange towering sculptures with collaged found and authored spoken word, sounds and music, Hills builds a swarm of associations that draw connections between certain narratives of late capitalism and insectile behaviour and culture."

                                                                                                    -  T. Groves, Head of Fine Art, City & Guilds