We are drawn to the range of resilient life forms found in neglected urban and suburban landscapes. the contrast between carefully planned and maintained landscapes and spontaneous spaces provides a filter through which to contemplate questions of wilderness versus civilization, biodiversity versus “nativeness”, and the idealized versus the “natural” .
Our proposed project looks closely at plants that tend to live in close association with dense human populations. Growing where others can’t or won’t, the plants held in our seed bank are those best adapted to live in the long shadow we throw on the landscape. Recasting these “weedy” species as companion plants for Anthropocene age, the project draws parallels between the characteristics of successful spontaneous plants and patterns of human population growth and flux in globalized cities. We are encouraging viewers to look at the overlooked and to be aware of how our value systems interact with both humans and non-humans.
We would like to create an interactive library of seeds gathered from wild-growing plants in the Bronx. Anyone can take seeds to plant or add to the library.
It will include:
1. A central piece of furniture built largely from locally scavenged materials. This would be a card-catalog style structure with many small drawers where the seeds are organized and labelled for easy access. A peaked roof will symbolically connect it to the outdoors.
2. A “work table” with envelopes and supplies for adding seeds to the library, plant ID books, a map of the Bronx with sites where we gathered seeds indicated.
3. Photo and video documentation of our process of gathering the seeds.
4. Live plants in pots on the table, at window sills, and on the floor.
5. A project website including an online catalog of available seeds as well as further documentation of their gathering. We will encourage visitors who take seeds to email us photos of their growth.