EPA Field Report: The Emergent Plantocene

The EPA presented a field report at the School of Visual Art’s Hothouse Archives conference this November (2018), organized by Suzanne Anker and Sabine Flach. Developed by EPA Agents andrea Haenggi and Christopher Kennedy, the talk examined popularized narratives of the so-called Anthropocene to explore the possibility of new tools and practices that draw from the wisdom of spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds). Taking the form of a performative field report that centers the voice and agency of urban weeds, the presentation argued for a reclaimed intimacy with urban landscapes that helps publics move beyond a mere awareness of the “non-human” toward a new kind of radical stewardship facilitated through embodied actions with ruderal and marginal ecologies. Through the lens of urban weeds, we ask: What would it mean to frame our new geologic era as the Emergent Plantocene? To recognize the incredible wisdom and survival strategies of “invasive” and “alien” plant species? How can we better understand the value of ruderal landscapes as spaces for liberation that strengthen body-plant connections? EPA practices such as “radical care sitting,” embodied science, and the development of movement scores from the perspective of urban weeds offers a set of examples to consider as both political acts and performative artworks. In so doing, we make a case for the plantbodyhumanbody as lab, and for new ways of redefining entangled action(ism) through kinesthetic multispecies fieldwork practice.

SVA will be releasing a catalog soon with the full text, so stay tuned!

Embodied Scientist Parkour

This October, the EPA piloted the first iteration of Embodied Scientist Parkour, a training for interspecies communication and deepened relationships with the in-between landscapes of the Schuylkill River. Reimagining a conventional fitness course, the project invites participants to engage in a series of site-specific movement scores situated along the Grays Ferry Crescent Trail to expand the possibility of how we collect and co-generate embodied scientific data. In collaboration with the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, we facilitated a soft-launch of the Parkour Course inviting participants to entangle their bodies with wild urban plants, vibrate with the multispecies highway, and develop new forms of intimacy with the river’s edge. (#embodiedscientist) Above is documentation of our workshop in Grays Ferry.

EPA Visits UPenn – Liquid Histories, Floating Archives

The EPA visited UPenn this week to work with students in Professor Bethany Wiggans course, Liquid Histories and Floating Archives. We introduced our Embodied Parkour project and led students through a series of intimate encounters with disturbed and weedy landscapes outside of Goddard Labs.

An excerpt from the syllabus:
Climate change transforms natural and built environments, and it is re-shaping how we understand, make sense, and care for our past. Climate changes history; rising waters make it soggy. This experimental seminar in interdisciplinary, embodied learning explores the Anthropocene, the present age in which humans are remaking earth’s systems, with a perspective on/near/in/above/within water. How are rising waters transfiguring our heritage, history and its practice–as well as our present and future? Readings, discussions, and field work invite trans-historical dialogues with a focus on the riverscape of the tidal Schuylkill and the colonial and industrial-era infrastructure that transformed the mid-Atlantic’s vast tidal marshes and wetlands.

Photos by Patricia Kim (PPEH)

EPA Included in NURTUREart’s 2018–2019 Exhibition Season

The EPA is featured in NURTUREart’s 2018–2019 Exhibition Season in a exhibition called The Department of Human and Natural Services, curated by Mariel Villere. The show will feature artworks by Nancy Nowacek, Allison Rowe, Li Sumpter, and the Environmental Performance Agency (EPA)

More about the show:
The Department of Human and Natural Services presents alternative arrangements of the bureaucracy surrounding climate change and possibilities to reclaim agency for environmental justice and resilience. The exhibition is comprised of works by four artists/collectives that propose strategies and actions in response to the current course of global warming. The project is a platform for visitors to envision their own future and a bureau, or a point of exchange for these visions, their material outputs, and a place to borrow or share resources in a new climatic reality.
Opening reception: Friday, April 19, 7-9pm
On view: April 20–May 19, 2019

Don’t Weaponize Transparency! New OnBehalfof.Life Campaign Launches for Ecological Consciousness at Wave Hill

On Sunday July 1st, the Environmental Performance Agency, in collaboration with Dan Phiffer, launched a new iteration of OnBehalfof.Life! This time we’re focused on gathering public comments in response to Scott Pruitt’s proposed “transparency” rule. You can participate online at OnBehalfof.Life or visit our gallery installation in the Bronx at Wave Hill’s exhibition Ecological Consciousness: Artist as InstigatorOn the evening of August 1st we’ll host a workshop for those interested in submitting comments together on site at Wave Hill!

Weedy Borderlands: An EPA Field Study of Swale and the Brooklyn Army Terminal

This weekend EPA agents Catherine Grau, andrea haenggi and Christopher Kennedy led a performative field study exploring the agency of spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds) found on Swale and the surrounding borderlands of the Brooklyn Army Terminal. We discovered an rhizomatic network of knotweed breaking up the recently paved asphalt, aquatic weeds growing on the hull of the barge, a multispecies food forest, and feral shorelines among other things.

EPA’s Department of Weedy Affairs announces Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) for US EPA Science Advisory Board


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


EPA’s Department of Weedy Affairs announces Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) for US EPA Science Advisory Board

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Environmental Performance Agency’s Department of Weedy Affairs (DWA) announces the nomination of Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) for the US EPA Science Advisory Board.

“Mugwort has a proven record for fighting and not giving up and will go deep to find new territories and new perspectives for the challenges facing the US EPA right now,” says EPA Agent Andrea Haenggi.

We invite you to join us at 2pm on June 15th at Transformer for a ‘meet the candidate walk’ and kick off event. The event will include public readings of comments collected at the DWA office, embodied actions, and a public address at 3PM at the US EPA Headquarters in Washington DC.

As the DWA’s resident Rhizome Biologist, Mugwort’s platform is multi-pronged and multi-species, using its root system to address a range of regulatory rollbacks including Scott Pruitt’s recently proposed rule “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.” Despite the deceptively benign title, this new rule will prevent vital forms of public research from being carried out by US EPA officials, weaken the role of science in the development of environmental policy, and open the door for corporate and private interests to conduct misleading research with severe consequences for human and more than human health.

Mugwort invites you to stand in solidarity on behalf of all life to imagine a world beyond human. Come meet the candidate and join the entire EPA team for an afternoon of embodied action, reflection and a public show of gratitude to current US EPA employees.

The Environmental Performance Agency (EPA) is an artist collective using artistic, social, and embodied practices practices to advocate for the agency of all living performers co-creating our environment, specifically through the lens of spontaneous urban plants, native or migrant. Contact EPA agents andrea haenggi, Christopher Kennedy, Ellie Irons, and Catherine Grau at environmentalperformanceagency@gmail.com

The event takes place June 15th, 2pm at Transformer, 1404 P Street NW, Washington DC, arrive 3PM at the US EPA at Federal Triangle, 12th St NW and Constitution Ave

Weedy Resistance on the National Mall

This weekend EPA agents Ellie Irons and Chris Kennedy (with indigenous activist Sebi Medina-Tayac) led a Weedy Resistance Walking Tour of the National Mall. They led participants through a series of embodied actions, observations and discussions on the complexities of land management practices, colonial occupation, and the possibility of spontaneous urban plants to inspire new forms of political and cultural organizing in the so-called Anthropocene age.

Crack the Patriarchy in DC


EPA Agents Catherine Grau and andrea haenggi were in Washington DC this past weekend, working with members of the Department of Weedy Affairs staff on a workshop called Crack the Patriarchy. Together with the weeds, workshop participants explored the question: How can we articulate, ally with, and reclaim the more-than-binary ways of being that are cracking the patriarchy?