work riso
on Fresh Figs

We are lucky to have a beautiful, shade-providing fig tree greeting us to the outside world every day. This particular giving tree of sorts has also endured a small child’s swing, providing hours of enjoyment for our son. When in season, it shares an over-abundance of slight tasting figs for us and the birds to enjoy, followed then by a putrid two months of rotting fruit, half-eaten bird leftovers for us to slip upon down our steps and onto the sidewalk.

Posters alongside the dreaded fig tree.

This period of time, sadly erases the previous enjoyment we shared from the figs. It is a sickeningly sweet smell of death and fly-infested rotting fruit corpus of utter frustration. Strangers avoid the sidewalk, yet also provide unneeded obvious commentary of the sad situation to us on nearly a daily basis.

During this aforementioned moment in 2021, Manon Bellet was reading a set of collected writings of Walter Benjamin and she referenced one essay in particular entitled, Fresh Figs. It then seemed imperative to provide a similar tale of eating to destroy in Benjamin’s love-hate relationship of the fig. Ultimately, this led me on a search for an English translation, quickly laying out the text, printing them on the risograph, we would have them readily available under our dreaded fig tree for all passersby to take for themselves.

Of course they would first have to venture through a gauntlet of rotting regret for a short-essay filled poster, printed on paper, and provided by a tree—a dark juxtaposition a friend quickly pointed out. Hopefully it was worth it.

Risograph Poster containing Walter Benjamin’s Fresh Figs.