For the Documerica Project (1971-1977), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired freelance photographers to capture images relating to environmental problems, EPA activities, and everyday life in the 1970s.

Picture 1

Picture 3

Picture 2

Thanks for the heads up, Jaime!


Spent a few hours yesterday collecting materials for shrines building, which will start on October 1st in SOHO20’s studio residency.

This included hunting around for a good patch of cordgrass for weaving, and I found one:

The plant sent multicolored runners along the ground,  alternating cream & magenta segments. Never seen this before.

p:ARK by Tattfoo Tan

Tattfoo Tan will create p:ARK, (March 24 – July 20) a large-scale, walkable labyrinth in an open grass field at Yard’s Park along the Anacostia riverfront. The field will be planted with weeds, grasses and whatever volunteer plants grow and left unmowed. Just before the 5 x 5 opening the field will be mowed into a labyrinth pattern. Visitors to the site can walk into this path and consider the differences and relationships between public space, cultivated lawns and weeds. Tattfoo wants his audience to understand that we are all part of nature and migration (including weeds and invasive plants) is a natural process that will continue regardless of the changing positions on immigration. In this way his art hopes to inspire thinking about ways we can all live together in a world that is getting smaller as population increases and people move around globally.

The term weed in its general sense is a subjective one, without any classification value, since a “weed” is not a weed when growing where it belongs or is wanted. Indeed, a number of “weeds” have been used in gardens or other cultivated-plant settings.

Let’s change our aesthetic of what is beauty and stop trying to tame nature by poisoning it. Ultimately, we are slowly killing ourselves in the name of cohesiveness, dare to be different and embrace diversity. – Tattfoo Tan

Amy Lipton curator for ecoartspace NY has been busy working on BiodiverCITY, her curatorial public art project for 5 x 5 in Washington D.C. opening on March 24th. Tattfoo Tan is one of the five artists she chose. To see the other projects, see her post on the EcoArtSpace blog.

A poem about a river

Inversnaid, by Gerard Manley Hopkins

This darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

A windpuff-bonnet of fawn-froth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, fell-frowning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.

Degged with dew, dappled with dew,
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

Weedy Proposal

I just finished a proposal for Brooklyn Utopias: Park Space, Play Space in and around Old Stone House Gallery in Park Slope. Here it is:



“Exquisite complex beings in their energy webs inhabiting the fertile corners of the urban world in accord with the rules of wild systems, the visible hardy stalks and stems of vacant lots and railroads, the persistent raccoon squads, bacteria in the loam and in our yogurt… Civilization is permeable, and could be as inhabited as the wild is. “ – Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild

“Weed: a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

As an intervention into the lawn of Washington Park, I would like to allow the grass and weeds to grow freely within a confined shape of a 12-pointed star, approximately 10 feet in diameter. I choose this geometric shape as a nod to the aesthetic conventions of ornamental gardens. Over the course of the exhibition, as the plant-life within this region grows, the star shape will become more and more defined.

I am interested in interrogating conventions of public landscaping. What forms and species of vegetation do we consider to be beautiful, useful, and wholesome? Although we normally value lawns in a public space, a lawn is in fact a monoculture. It reduces biodiversity and interrupts local ecological balance. There is evidence that allowing a lawn to convert itself into woodlawn is better for the environment, decreasing storm-water runoff and lessening the need for watering.[1]

[1] In Philadelphia, Going Green or Growing Wild? By Anne Raver – July 20, 2011 – New York Times



At first I will mark off the 12-pointed star shape with wooden stakes and string. I will visit regularly to clip the area directly around the border. Once the grass and weeds grow tall enough so that the shape is clearly visible, I will be able to remove the string and stakes.

At the end of the exhibition, I will work in consultation with the landscaping crew to bring the site back to its original condition.