Embodied Scientist Parkour
The Embodied Scientist Parkour brings together the EPA’s past research and a new collaboration with Philadelphia-based artists and students to create a playful and embodied tour of site-specific movement scores, performative gesture scores, and re-imagined field science strategies that explore interspecies collaborations along the Schuykill watershed. The Embodied Scientist scores focus on raising awareness of how plant life and existing ecosystems participate in biological restoration in chosen ecotones along the Schuylkill River and its expansion into historical and present creek streams. The aim of these scores is to invite people into experiencing deepened relationships with natural phenomena and to learn from phenomenological observation of nature’s response to human impact. In collaboration with the UPenn Program in Environmental Humanities.
Department of Weedy Affairs
The Department of Weedy Affairs is an artwork and speculative proposition which imagines a governmental agency that is beyond human. Installed at Transformer in Washington DC in May 2018, the project offered visitors an opportunity to engage with and learn from spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds) through a toolkit of radical care practices and embodied science. Occupying a gallery space on P Street in Logan Circle, the office included a living participatory sculpture featuring a weedy island of refugee plants from the marginal ecologies (ex. vacant lots, sidewalk cracks, highway medians) of Washington DC; liberated soil from the National Mall; deleted data from the US EPA’s website; and tools and prompts that invite the visitor to experiment with and contemplate other ways of engaging with an urban multi-species environment. The Department also provided a telephone hotline and web platform (OnBehalfOf.Life) to collect public comments on changes made to the US EPA policy and rules with an aim to foster public commentary that articulates a vision for environmental justice on behalf of all life. At the close of the exhibition, EPA Agents led 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.
Urban Weeds Garden
The Urban Weeds Garden at 1067 Pacific Street extends the traditional community garden model to embrace the spontaneous growth of ruderal and pioneer species – most often called weeds. Rather than cultivating plants, the EPA invited publics to work with an existing garden of weedy species as mentors, guides, and collaborators in cultivating inter-species alliances, empathy, resilience, and stewardship for a beyond-human urban ecology. The project took place at 1067 PacificPeople, a 2500 square-foot lot and experimental art project in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The urgency to establish this project was partially founded in the rapid gentrification of the neighborhood, as 1067 Pacific Street and many of its neighbors are directly threatened by rezoning from commercial (primarily informal auto-body shops and car wash businesses) to residential.
The project consists of three parts:
1.) Field Research: The EPA takes their artistic research from the garden into the streets, including activities like building human-plant civic relations through sensorial / affective encounters, wild plant mapping, conducting interviews with locals on varied cultural readings of weeds, creating guerilla wild plant protection kits, and engaging with local community groups.
2.) The Garden is maintained as a living, interactive installation, which foregrounds spontaneous urban plants through design elements, signage, audio guides, and facilitated activities.
3.) The Performances throughout the summer and fall of 2017, were co-led by artists and locals who have become involved in the project through the field research phase. These one-on-one or group facilitated performances were participatory and experiential, taking the shape of scores, guided walks, improvisation jams, potlucks, movement workshops, and more.
In response to the release of the US EPA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, EPA agents and friends developed a web resource called ONBEHALFOF.LIFE The website allows anyone to submit a public comment on behalf of a nonhuman species, and provokes visitors to considerwhat would happen if the EPA does nothing to address Climate Change? We hope to use this platform for future public comment periods to ensure humans and nonhumans have agency and a voice in Washington D.C. The project was developed by Dan Phiffer, Karolina Sobecka, Kim Rinehardt, the EPA Team & others, human and beyond.
Collective Weed Improvisation Jam
The Collective Weed Improvisation Jam explores sensorial, bodily and affective situations where the human cellular body and plant cellular body is a site for inquiry for choreographic directives to develop states of embodiment that supports a world beyond human. Our movement improvisations will shoot out into vegetal philosophies, colonization, immigration, botanical science, cultivation and gender. The radicle will go into the cracks, looking at value, comfort/discomfort, maintaining, resilience, emotional labor, healing and care.
Every 2nd Sunday of the month, the dance floor of the the EPA Headquarters becomes a movement learning lab for cross-pollinate weedy practices. The Weeds are our mentors, guides and collaborators. The three hour is organized where the class is facilitated by a rotating roster of Weed Facilitators and follows by an open score jam. All movement levels are welcome. Our collective weedy dancing happens outside in the weedy garden and inside the EPA studio space.
Next Epoch Seed Library
NESL is an artist-run seed library that reimagines the traditional seed bank for the oncoming Anthropocene. Rather than gathering and preserving agricultural heritage from the pre-Monsanto era, this seed bank focuses on weedy species most likely to survive and thrive in a landscape dominated by human excess.
NESL will have a branch of its library at the EPA over the summer and fall. This will include seed packets for the taking, unpackaged seeds still to be process, processing supplies and tools, documentation of plant habitats, naturalcultural histories of various plants included in the library, potentially video documentation (we have a screen we could rig up), and supplies for gathering seeds from the lot at 1067 and beyond. Learn more by visiting http://nextepochseedlibrary.com/
A salon-style discussion series exploring what plants and ecological systems can teach us about political resistance and cultural organizing. The series brings together scientists, artists, designers, activists and others to share tactics for building flexible and resilient forms of organizing, teaching, creating, and living together that also consider biocultural threats to our shared commons. Urban plants adapting their seed dispersal strategies, mushrooms that eat oil spills, and shellfish that thrive in superfunded waterways are just a few examples. The series also critically engages the concept of the Anthropocene, inviting new interpretations for generating hope, possibility, and biocultural restoration in our current geological and environmental moment. For more info visit: https://weedyresistance.tumblr.com/