Flux Factory, Spring 2018
In his recent book Feral, George Monbiot discusses his theory of ecological boredom that posits much of the existential ennui experienced by urban denizens is a result of our self distancing from the wild in favor of more homogeneous landscapes. To advance this idea further, one might postulate that our evolutionary biology seeks and yearns for biodiversity, recognizing this as the keystone of a sustainable environment. Simultaneously, our contrary desire is to find safety in the controlled and understood leads us to create places where the other is wholly absent.
Thus we find ourselves increasingly migrating to megacities devoid of any contact with what one might call nature as even city parks are highly regulated spaces where an errant leaf is cause for a gas powered blower. Outside the city is hardly much better as agribusiness monoculture creates unbroken seas of Roundup Ready cash crops. By banishing any hope of the aleatory, these barren spaces inhibit imagination and creativity.
Wilder City seeks to channel what is wild through familiar media and technologies in order to create an accessible platform for new ideas about ecological and cultural diversity. It suggests the wild can be understood as a complicated system necessary for the perpetuation of life as we know it rather than chaos that should be simplified and abolished. Finally, this exhibition encourages artists, scientists, programmers, and designers to work together and borrow from each other to create new lenses through which we might see and experience our wilder nature.
A Flux Factory exhibition, Wilder City is an entirely outdoor art show that will be staged at Windmill Community Garden in Long Island City.
Curated by Lorissa Rinehart & Nat Roe
Johann Diedrick’s Listening Stations allow visitors to listen to the complexities of soil, water, and the air and inspire new ideas about the rarely seen wilds that exist all around us.
Next Epoch Seed Library (Anne Percoco and Ellie Irons) will restage an 1879 experiment by Dr. William James Beal in which he tested the longevity of seeds by burying them in a sealed bottle and gave instructions to unearth and plant them every 20 years. In 2000, the 120 year mark, the seeds still sprouted. Rather than common crops, NESL will use weedy species seeds from their archive.
Thomas Choinacky and Christopher Kennedy’s Weedy Nomad is a performative field study to examine and make visible multispecies migration and human-nonhuman relationships in Long Island City, Queens.
Kristyna and Marek Milde’s Plantarium – Tea Garden will function both as a sculpture and wildflower garden for the Windmill community allowing them to grow and harvest plants for teas and infusions and host variety of events, tastings, and educative workshops. “Plantarium – Tea Garden” follows the narrative of plants in nature displaying native alongside the introduced species reflecting the evolving culture-nature relationship since the colonial era.
The attentive physical fieldwork There was a sign saying “Don’t touch me” by Andrea Haenggi invites the audience to collectively co-create a performance work with wild urban plants (aka weeds).
Katya Khan, Pretty/Ugly is a three-dimensional montage of unrecognized, unwelcome, and under-appreciated populations who inhabit our urban landscape.