Urban Weeds Community Garden
The Urban Weeds Community Garden 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 project’s artists and participating public will work with an existing garden of weedy species, which they will approach to be their mentors, guides, and collaborators in cultivating inter-species alliances, empathy, resilience, and stewardship for a beyond-human urban ecology. The project is taking place at 1067 PacificPeople, a 2500 square-foot lot and experimental art project in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, that is currently home to the garden. The urgency to establish this project now lies 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 will consist 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, such as Crown Heights Tenant Union and the local West-Indian drum collective Pagwah.
2.) The Community Garden is being maintained as a living, interactive installation, which foregrounds spontaneous urban plants through design elements, signage, audio guides, and facilitated activities.
3.) The Performances will take place in September 2017, constituting a month of public events led by the artists and locals who have become involved in the project through the field research phase. These one-on-one or group facilitated performances will be participatory and experiential, taking the shape of scores, guided walks, improvisation jams, potlucks, movement workshops, and more.
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 Urban Weeds Community Garden species at the EPA (Environmental Performance Agency) 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/