FilmPlant Pop

Naoko Wowsugi: Permacounterculture

FilmPlant Pop
Naoko Wowsugi: Permacounterculture

The political, anti-establishment lyrics are one of the things that define punk music. It’s a genre that desires to break away from the norms. So what does punk music have to do with plants?

Art professor at American University in Washington, DC, Naoko Wowsugi, seeks to answer probing questions like these using the art world as her platform.

Naoko immerses herself in her artist work. She wants to discover the links between two, often very different, cultures.

In the case of the “Permacounterculture” exhibit, she explored the connection between punk music and growing wheatgrass.

Nicole Dowd, the program manager at the Hamiltonian Gallery, where the exhibit was showcased, said Naoko presented a whole new perspective as she immersed herself in these different worlds.

"She is more of a community-based artist. A lot of her ideas stem from experiences and groups to which she belongs in the community."

Using a little scientific discovery and a lot of creativity, the artist orchestrated the exhibit, which put a few different punk bands in a small garage space housing the wheatgrass. The exhibit highlighted the way sound waves and increased carbon dioxide actually help these plants grow.

Naoko says it's a complicated process, but it can be broken down into a simple concept.

"We grow the wheatgrass by playing punk makes a better environment for the wheatgrass."

From there, the wheatgrass was made into shots taken by band members and spectators alike. 

"It energizes the DC community."

This experiment united two worlds in a great way. Nicole observed people coming to the show were from different communities from around the area.

"We have people who would normally come to an art event here at the Hamiltonian really interspersed with a lot of people in the punk community." 

The exhibit was a fun and unique way for the bands to show their talents as well. Drummer, Chris Moore, said it’s not every day they get to perform and produce a healthy wheatgrass shot at the same time. 

"It's a really cool concept. It takes the typical punk show and makes it something a little more interesting." 

Producer's note: This was a past event that PlantPop covered. Check out the artist's current work on her website:

For more information and about future exhibits at the Hamiltonian Gallery, go to their website here: