Ripe with tricks, devious and adorned with large, bucket-shaped labellum traps, an empty cavity reekes of rotting flesh. Or the smell of a bee with no bee in sight; no fruit in the flesh of the cavern, no juice, no sap.
During the orchidelirium (also known as the orchid mania of the 19th century), orchids were often understood and treated as feminine. A 19th-century growing manual would deem orchids “marvelously docile.. their life, a reflection of what is around them.”
Michael Pollan coins the orchid as the ‘inflatable love doll of the floral kingdom’. Orchids are, according to P, rather fantastic liars who evolved alongside insects, luring them in time and again with the promise of “very weird sex.”
This is a peep-show to a hothouse burlesque, starring not playmates, but Kristin Wenzel’s orchids playing to themselves.