“Everything I see in this or any other park in Singapore is, down to the last detail, man-made. Every tree and every plant has been placed there by a person, every strip of vegetation running along a street has been planned by a human being. Even how it should run along that street had been planned. Any natural element can only exist if we allow it to, so in its very essence something has died.” – Unknown
In pursue of more greenery, the Singapore state’s “City in a Garden” policy1 favours the ‘sanitised’ nature of parks over the wild nature. Island is a series portraying nuances of human intervention of nature in the water bodies of Singapore, representing a failure in the state’s attempt to keep nature’s wild side at bay. This series reveals the artifical creation of a landscape from the removal of the aquatic hydrilla plant (Hydrilla verticillata) and uncovers the ecology within.
The non-native hydrilla plant is a natural water purfication agent and was likely introduced into Singapore waters through the aquarium trade2. The aquatic plant prospered and, subsequently, overwhelmed the habitat. As a result, reductive measures are enforced to control the overgrowth. Nature has resisted human control and reclaimed its dominance. Over the process, unexpected guests arrived. The grey herons and, especially aggressive, javan mynahs swarmed to the ‘excavated’ hydrilla in search of an easy meal - fishes. While one organism dies (hydrilla), it sustains the others (Javan mynahs & Grey herons). An island, landscape and ecology have since emerged from the artificial removal of the hydrilla plant.