Open Engagement: Plant Talk, Human Talk

This weekend, EPA presented at Open Engagement at the Queens Museum and Hall of Science in New York. We led an interactive workshop called Plant Talk Human Talk exploring the lawn outside the Hall of Science in Corona-Flushing Meadows Park. Plant Talk Human Talk explores the biocultural possibility of spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds) as collaborators and guides in imagining new urban systems/ecologies. The Queens Museum’s surrounding landscape serves as a site for applied fieldwork where participants will engage in EPA’s embodied scientist training for cultivating plant-human relations and interspecies alliances. Tactics include wild plant unmapping, radical care sitting, and creating embodied scores for a world beyond human.

EPA Meets EPA: Department of Weedy Affairs

This spring the EPA goes to Washington DC where we’ll be partnering with Transformer to launch a new artwork — The Department of Weedy Affairs, a speculative proposition which imagines a governmental agency that is beyond human. This new EPA office opens May 5, offering visitors an opportunity to engage and learn from spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds) through a toolkit of radical care practices and embodied science. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, we invite the public to submit a comment to the US Environmental Protection Agency using a web platform, OnBehalfOf.life. At the end of the show, the EPA collective will lead a public march to deliver the collection of comments, desires and demands on behalf of the weeds to the US EPA on the National Mall. The EPA meets the EPA.

WORKSHOPS + PERFORMANCES:
MAY 5, 2018 | 3 – 8pm
Department of Weedy Affairs: Opening Reception
Transformer, 1404 P Street, NW Washington, DC
Featuring a live performance by andrea haenggi, Teaching a Human the Urban Weeds Alphabet (created with 26 urban weeds). Live engagements at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm

MAY 20, 2018 | 2 – 5pm
Crack The Patriarchy: Moving, thinking and feeling with plants that break through cracks in asphalt
Led by EPA artists Catherine Grau and Andrea Haenggi
Meeting Point: Transformer, 1404 P Street, NW Washington, DC

JUNE 9, 2018 | 2 – 4:30pm
Weedy Resistance: A Weedy Walking Tour on the National Mall
Led by EPA Agents Ellie Irons and Christopher Kennedy
Meeting Point: Constitution Avenue NW and 12th Street NW, Washington DC

JUNE 15, 2018 | 2pm
EPA Meets EPA: A public walk to the US EPA Headquarters
Meeting Point: Transformer, 1404 P Street, NW Washington, DC

fertilizing fire circle

DECEMBER 1, 2017 | 5pm – 12am @ EPA Headquarters 1067 Pacific Street, Brooklyn

We invite you to join EPA collective’s night of embodied storytelling for decolonizing, healing and belonging within a multi-species future. Celebrate the final transformation of our rented garage and lot turned urban weeds ecosystem.**

Break the pavement. Practice primitive fire-starting. Whisper and listen to the flames to fertilize relationships with urban land. Bitch and dance to acknowledge the agency of urban weeds. Counter monoculture! Burn it down! Touch stillness. See time.

Beginning at dusk and continuing until midnight, the environment will be transformed into Soft-Precarious Openings by EPA artists Catherine Grau, Andrea Haenggi, Christopher Kennedy, Ellie Irons, and participating artists and storytellers: Carrie Ahern, Tara Daino, Nancye Good (fire bow drill teacher), Simone Johnson, Holes in the Walls Collective: Julia Meeks & Dhira Rauch, Cooper Miller, Robert Neuwirth, Lissette Olivares, Iele Paloumpis, Marýa Wethers (firekeeper), and Moira Williams, and nourishing bites and warming drinks inspired by recipe-stories from the neighbors on our block.

Registration is required. Please RSVP
Suggested donation $15
Detailed schedule TBA

+++ Stay the full 7hrs to get fully fertilized for the next epoch!! +++

** In 2013, artist Andrea Haenggi and writer Robert Neuwirth signed a 5-year lease for 1067 Pacific Street, a former auto-repair garage with a 1900 Sq Ft vacant lot in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, with the intent:

  • to find LOVE in this contaminated urban feral landscape
  • if you enter the LAND of 1067 Pacific Street, you shape the artwork
  • the PLACE, 1067 Pacific Street, is the artwork itself
  • the artwork is the studio for Haenggi’s movement-based artist PRACTICE
  • to find an aesthetic in rawness and LABOR
  • in search of AGENCY for nonhuman life forms
  • to question VALUE in all its economic and philosophic meanings

The socially and ecologically engaged research and performance artwork, with its many public encounters, grew into the co-founding of the collaborative project Environmental Performance Agency (EPA) in March 2017. On January 22, 2018 we must surrender the key.

Mapping the US EPA: Sensing the Bureaucracy, Who Has Agency?


This weekend the EPA hosted a research-a-thon to better understand and sense the federal environmental bureaucracy, the US EPA*.

Since US EPA administrator Scott Pruitt took office in 2017, a number of environmental regulations and policies have been overturned, rolled back, or are in a period of limbo. With a further “re-organization” of the US EPA already underway, what implications does this have for human health and the environment?

Collectively we began to review the US EPA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan and map how the US EPA operates both locally and nationally. Together we discovered that the the US EPA** is accepting public comments until October 31, 2017 on the 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, which redefines their mission for the next four years. We feel the strategic plan does not adequately ensure the “protection” of human health and the environment.

With the help of EPA** Agents and friends, we developed a resource that invites you to submit a comment on behalf of a nonhuman species called onbehalfof.life

We encourage you to share this tool with your networks, on social media, and through conversation with friends, colleagues and family. 

In a time of extinction we need to make space for more life.

*US EPA = United States Environmental Protection Agency
**EPA = Environmental Performance Agency (No affiliation with the US EPA)

Making Time for Soil

“…testing soil as “tasting soil,” treating soil as family, notions of immersing into soil and comingling with its substance, speak of sensorial involvements with a soil that is not conceived as separate.” – Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds by María Puig de la Bellacasa, p. 197-98

This month’s collective weed improvisation jam explored urban soil as a platform for movement research and weedy agency. Special guest Moira Williams shared a little bit about her practice and reflected on a past project called DIRT Shirt/EXCHANGE where Williams germinated Hairy Vetch seeds in her armpit as a means to address contaminated soil in a Brownfield site in Brooklyn. Moira guided us through a collaborative score to embody what it means to be soil, to be in soil, and to make soil. We explored the urban weeds garden and dug a hole to investigate the soil’s texture and quality. The event ended with an open movement jam.

EPA Summit!


Please join us for the first EPA Summit!

When: September 23rd, 9:30am – 5:30pm
Where: EPA Headquarters at 1067 Pacific Street, Brooklyn, NY

The EPA Summit is cross-disciplinary gathering bringing together artists, thinkers, scientists and others in the fields of urban ecology, art, dance, movement and performance to explore the possibility of embodied research, and the value of urban weeds as collaborators, guides and mentors.

The Summit is a public day-long event rain or shine. We invite you for the duration of the gathering, but if you cannot dedicate the whole day, RSVP either for the morning or the afternoon.

RSVP REQUIRED: TO REGISTER CLICK HERE
Suggested Donation of $20/person

Any questions please contact: environmentalperformanceagency@gmail.com

SCHEDULE

9:30 AM – 10:00 AM
WELCOME with Fresh Foraged Chicory Coffee

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
EMERGENCY WEEDY RESILIENCE KIT: The Weeds Welcome You
Catherine Grau

10:30 AM – 11:15 AM
INTRODUCTIONS
Welcoming remarks by EPA artist collective

11:15 AM – 12:30 PM
URBAN WEEDS GUIDE TO BORDER CROSSING
Chris Kennedy

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
POOR BUT SEXY (Activist) LUNCH
guided by Catherine Grau
with special guests Darryl Montgomery-Hell, Moira Williams, Johann Diedrick and Thomas Choinacky

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
RADICAL CARE SITTING: Guerilla Encounters with Weedy Islands
andrea haenggi

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
NEXT EPOCH SEED LIBRARY: Time Capsule for Pacific Street Futures
Anne Percoco + Ellie Irons

5:00 PM- 5:30pm
GROUP REFLECTION
End remarks by all participants

*Several sessions involve actions out in the streets and are not suitable to casual drop-in mid way. Thank you for being considerate!

Anthrobotanical at the Schuylkill Center


The EPA is participating in an exhibition at the Schuylkill Center in Philadelphia next week! We’ll be sharing research and ephemera from our summer field work. The opening is Sept. 7th, 6-8pm. More details about the show below:

Most people know that we rely on plants for the food we eat and the air we breathe, but the interconnections between plants and people actually go much deeper and are more nuanced. Scientists continue to discover the complexities of how plants take in and respond to information, even communicating with each other through underground networks and chemical signals. Human systems powerfully influence plant communities, locations, and health – and they also exert a powerful influence over us. Yet, despite the intricacies of the plant-human relationship, plants are often overlooked, even compared to other aspects of the natural world.” [More info]

Open Garden Session: Weedy Resistance, Border Crossings and Decolonizing Science

The EPA was a flurry of activity yesterday during our 3rd Open Garden Session. Collective members andrea haenggi, Carrie Ahern, Ellie Irons and Chris Kennedy offered a variety of experiences for visitors. Chris and Carrie co-led the second part of the Urban Weeds Guide to Border Crossing involving a neighborhood walk and mapping session that focused on two living lots near the EPA Headquarters. Using a ladder and our bodies, we peered over barriers (a metal gate and chain link fence) to observe and speculate on the spontaneous urban plant communities along Pacific Street. What can we learn about borders by looking at how weeds adapt and translate across territories? How can we move in response? [two new islands have been named as well – Friends and Princesses garden at 620 Classon Avenue; and Grand Terra Garden on the corner of Grand Ave and Pacific Street)

Ellie led a weedy pigment making workshop, showing us how to create watercolor paints from a variety of plants found in the EPA’s urban weeds garden and surrounding area. We also developed signs for ongoing demonstrations using Pokeweed ink and recycled cardboard as materials. andrea also continued her radical care sitting practice offering a plant naming score, and a special iced tea made from foraged weeds in NYC!