Interview Ricardo Gil Mendoza
Tves, TV Chanel
Tves en la Mañana, Program
With Fabiana Ochoa and Cesar Becerra
Thursday, February 12th, 2.015 10:30 am
Part I of II
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_X1sX-E_wik (4:17 min)
RGM in TVES – part I of II
INT1: -“Well, it´s now time for our space “Entrepreneurs”. It is about a really beautiful topic for us Venezuelans, for those of us who love our country and keep hoping to make progress, to keep sowing, cultivating and working for our beloved Venezuela.
There is a trend around the world regarding the topic we are just about to discuss, which is why we are going to welcome Ricardo Gil. Mr. Ricardo Gil is an expert in the field of Vertical cultures.”
INT2: -“Yes, indeed. When we hear about sowing, we are used to think about sowing in flat surfaces, such as farms, gardens, or in specific places dedicated to such end and which make it easier to have access to them. However, Ricardo comes up with this spectacular idea, which, as you were saying, in the space “Entrepreneurs”, is just the right space to portray and make more visible this man who has been sowing all his life. Welcome, Ricardo, how are you doing?”
INT1: -“20 years working in this.”
RGM: -“Yes, thank you very much for this invitation and to give me the opportunity to be here and to provide us with this space, as the intention of this exhibition, of this sample, of which you will see the art later on, is to make people aware on the subject of plants and vertical cultures.
INT1: -“Ricardo you look like a plant right now, when it is blown by the wind. Are you a little nervous? Just take a deep breath!”
INT2: -“Ricardo seems a little frightened, but it is OK. It is difficult sometimes. I think it is really nice for you to be here with us. I was asking Ricardo if he had been sowing all his life and he said yes, and we were asking him about these presentations and about this art that has to do with plants, not necessarily by creating but maintaining, giving life, recuperating. Let’s see, how do you feel when you are in the street and people are amazed, as we are, by your work, something that seems fallen form heaven but it is made by the hand of Ricardo Gil, our guest today.
INT1: -“Hey, and there is something else that should make us very proud, and you know it better than anyone, Ricardo, and that is the fact that all around the world, in Japan, in France, this type of …”
INT1: -“Yes. It is being implemented. It is Organic Art. Define it.”
RGM: -“Yes. Actually vertical cultures are not so new, as they are dated from the Gardens of Babylonia, so it is not really something we are doing for the first time.
INT1: -“How long ago are we talking about?”
RGM: -“Wow… the ruins of the Babylonian gardens are extinct so we do not really know how long ago it was, but it was Before Jesus Christ.
INT2: -“It is almost considered one of the 7 Wonders of the world” (SIC)
RGM: -“That’s correct. They say it is one of the 7 wonders of the world, but the composition or the artistic creation of these pieces, need to integrate several factors. In plastic art there are factors to be integrated such as colors, patterns, shapes, but in this work you also integrate the natural factor, so you must have some knowledge about plants, make a good integration of all the natural features, the light that the plants to be used will receive, the place where it will be displayed, the type of watering they need. Many of the pieces we make, these in particular are the ones without a watering system, are created with a watering system included, given that the water supply is one of the main requisites for plants. Additionally, lighting and ventilation must be considered. There are plants that should be in places with no air currents and there are other which benefit from ventilated spaces. So, all these factors, organic and biological, must be taken into account when creating a piece of art like this.
INT2: -“Yes, pieces of art like these. I am sure that from home, we are looking at some beautiful pieces that Ricardo has brought here, we are looking at some pictures and the ones in the set, but it draws our attention when you talk about watering systems as people are most likely used to grab water from the tap and water the plants. I figure that with the sprinkler you brought you, not only supply the priceless liquid (water) to the plants, but you also add minerals, salts, vitamins to the plants.
RGM: -“It is correct. Plants nutrition is fundamental. It is what we call fertilization and also watering and fertilizing (ferti-irrigación) at the same time, when we supply nutritious solutions through water.
Part I of II
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL_TKHHAhgk&feature=youtu.be (6:44 min)
RGM: -“Long time ago, when I started this in 1996, I was studying Agronomy in the University of Maracay, I took a course on Hydroponics, and then I ended up going to La Gran Sabana to make some practices on cultures to try to produce food in those lands. They called me crazy because no one could cultivate food in those lands, so I started working with hydroponics. This is a very complex work; it needs a lot of measurements, a lot of chemistry to obtain hydroponics results, so I started working with organic cultures (Organopónicos), which means to cultivate organic products through compost and nutritious solutions. With this technique, I was able to obtain a whole lot of foodstuff, all the products grew well. This was presented as a Dissertation at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, and then, in the Faculty of Agronomy, although I never obtained my degree because I thought back then that the Agronomist Engineers were environmental consumers instead of agricultural producers. This thought marked my life in a way that I have been, ever since, looking for alternative technologies for food production with organic systems. I have found out that when the plants are grown with organic systems they tend to present less problems or diseases and they are much less vulnerable, they are able to survive any small problem or even small bugs.
INT1: -“Now, Ricardo, excuse me. You know how, for example, my mom, my mom is at home always watching this show, or someone else at home is going to see this art work and say: “well, they are probably fake, they are props”…
INT2: -“No, they are real. Tell your mom that they are real.”
INT1: -“Well, she has not said that, but there must be some people wondering how easy this is to make: I grab a plant, turn it around, put it there, as we are seing here…”
INT2: -“I tie it up with nylon so it does not look bad”
INT1: -“How to do this beautiful art work?”
RGM: -“Well, this is the same as making a baby, very easy… now, growing it is the difficult part.”
INT2: -“I am going to ask Walter for permission to grab one of these here…excuse me, Venezuela…”
INT1: -“Sure, take it, and Ricardo you walk us through it. How do you make a piece of work like this?”
INT2: -“Wow, this is heavy, it weighs about 6 kilograms, give or take. What is in here? This is completely natural, Venezuela, and, allow me, there are different plants, there are some sorts of balconies, and… I have some plants at home in bottles of water, which are similar to these, but I see these are greener than the ones I have.”
RGM: -“Well, you will see that the first thing is that these are techniques used currently in the building of vegetal walls. We used a very simple technique that involves PVC sheets in the back, as you can see, and then they are wrapped in a landscape fabric, similar to felt but it does not rot.
INT2: -“This fabric is used to support cliffs and slopes.”
RGM: -“That is correct, correct.”
INT1: -“It is more resistant”
RGM: -“Yes, it is made of synthetic fibers which do not rot, then this fabric is stapled onto the PVC sheet, actually this technique is very simple, this is very easy to do; next you put on a substratum, which in this case is a combination of worm humus, soil and sand.”
INT2: -“The worm humus is the worm´s waste, what you find in the plant pot.”
RGM: -“Correct. Correct.”
INT2: -“You see, I know a little of this.”
INT1: -“You made your homework. That´s why I love him!”
INT2: -“And there is the water. I am very very careful, I am very careful with the water from the tap as it has a lot of chlorine, so usually the water I am going to use to water my plants the next day, I leave it in a container overnight and then, in the morning, I use this water that should have less chlorine. Am I wrong in this?”
RGM: -“It is good what you are doing. I also recommend you to air it a little. Before using it for watering, pass it on from one container to another to air it. This ventilation process makes it better as chlorine turns into gas very easily. That is why we see around the water tanks that everything rots, chlorine eats away everything because it turns into gas too quickly, so when you do that, you gasify a little the chlorine and reduce the amount of it. But there is an even better technique which is to always leave a container outdoors to collect rain water. Nothing works best for watering than rain water. I have been working with watering systems for all my life, from very small things to very large projects, from a gardening pot of one square meter to the southern basin of the Maracaibo Lake, with 20,000 hectares, at all levels I think that nothing is better than a good hard rain. You could use water from a river, from a lagoon, from a well, but nothing does the trick better than rain.”
INT1: -“Rain is great, it falls for everyone.”
INT2: -“My hair grows better when I get wet running under the rain.”
INT1: -“Ricardo, I would like to know, we all would like to know if you have made any exhibitions with all this art you are presenting to us, or, are you planning to do any exhibition, so people can enjoy this form of art?”
RGM: -“We are currently exhibiting in the Galpones de Arte in Los Chorros, we will be there until February 1st, until next Sunday. It is located diagonally from the store JVG in Av. Sucre.”
INT2: -“Is there a fee to enter or is it free?”
RGM: -“No, it is absolutely free”
INT2: -“That’s great!”
INT1: -“And can people buy any of your pieces?”
RGM: -“Yes, absolutely, all the art pieces are for sale and we also make them customized, indicating people what plants to combine best depending on the place where they will place them, etc.”
INT2: -“That is great. Ricardo Gil was our guest today in our section Entrepreneurs. I really loved having you here.”
INT1: -“Please give him a big applause.”
INT2: -“I would like to ask you, Ricardo, one word to define your work”
INT2: -“These are living beings, we are lucky enough to have them around to live with and depending on how we treat them, they will respond.”
INT2: -“Excellent. Thank you, Ricardo!”
INT1: -“While you talk to Ricardo to buy one of his pieces, and he teaches us to take care of our plants; we give the floor to a woman that looks just like the Orchid we have in this piece. Take it away, Layla”.