Image (detail): Plant Collection BKL – Two Machines used in the Brown Coal Ditches – 30.05.2017. Work by Camilla Berner, 2017. Courtesy of the Artist.
Camilla Berner, Andrea Callard, Lindsey french, Yvette Granata, Next Epoch Seed Library, Shuling Yuan and Ingo Vetter
Curated by Alex Young
11 March - 30 April, 2022
SixtyEight Art Institute welcomes you to our new exhibition, Ruderal Futures, organised by the American artist/curator Alex Young with artists Camilla Berner, Andrea Callard, Lindsey french, Yvette Granata, Next Epoch Seed Library, Shuling Yuan and Ingo Vetter. This ecocritical futures exhibition continues our two-year program of exhibitions, called Memoirs of Saturn that is looking into new relations between art, nature, and prosperity in a warming world.
Opening: Friday 11 March, 18:00-21:00
Location: Gothersgade 167
Ruderal Futures is an ongoing research project that articulates a manifest proposition: inherited world systems – of colonial biopower, of capitalism, of modernity – can, will, and are ending. Subsequently, from the weeds of their ruin, a new more-than-human collective ‘we’ might emerge enriched.
Adapted from urban ecology, the word ‘ruderal’ refers to plants and other life-forms that populate environments disturbed by natural phenomena and human activity. However, more broadly, the ruderal exists both within and beyond the forces of state planning and capitalism’s project of organising nature, simultaneously holding a mirror to dominant systems while pointing towards forms of resistance and utopian otherness. By order of magnitude, it is less a product of human relations with their environment than the profound alteration of the earth’s surface that results from the hierarchical systems exceeding the agency of individuals and multitudes alike. Here, the ruderal emerges as a distinct minor territory and incidental model for futurity, gleaned from the wilful omission of a holistic conception of multispecies collaboration.
This exhibition evolves from an open-ended milieu of artist-researchers engaged with ruderal ecologies, who are here gathered to address the potential of weedy others as co-creators of alter-worlds of abundance. Using this platform, their contributions evoke plausible worlds of nonhierarchical kinship from the aftermath of both historic and ongoing colonial violence and capitalist anthropogenic land use. In this sense, Ruderal Futures presents a constellation of research-based practices assembled as an anarchive of intersecting citational affinities. Together, this exhibition unfolds in a form of space and time travel, where past, present, and future encounters – once dispersed over vast terrestrial divides – coalesce into this auspicious site of germination.
For SixtyEight Art Institute, works by Camilla Berner, Andrea Callard, Lindsey french, Yvette Granata, Next Epoch Seed Library, and Shuling Yuan and Ingo Vetter span over three continents and nearly five decades–from the 1970s to today. Each artist employs means of ruderal sensing in active examination of the heterogeneity of urban life. Their contributions present creative registers or proposals addressing countless entanglements between both human and other-than-human actors. The resultant projects materialise in practices of care, receptivity, and awareness toward subaltern spaces, species, and subjectivities that reside in the margins of authority and prevailing rigid disciplinary interests. Adopting diverse media and methods of social and ecological analysis, the artists presented here are united in genuine post-disciplinary and post-medium processes of interrelation.
Via these approaches, the artists in Ruderal Futures move on from narratives of scarcity, utility, productivity, and growth that shape extractive means of tapping environmental surroundings as resources. In doing so, they expose modes of being-with-the-world that are efflorescing out of the complex and contaminated gardens of these alien commons.
I recently finished a family residency at beautiful Stoneleaf Retreat, along with Ellie Irons as Next Epoch Seed Library. Photos are from studio visit with Helen Toomer, the director. Ellie and I each brought our toddlers, spouses, and parents/in-laws. What a great way to support female artists and mothers.
by Timothy A. Schuler
"The pandemic has forced many of us to reevaluate our relationships to productivity. I’ve come to see that our cultural and aesthetic preference for landscapes that are neat and tidy is part of a larger cult of order and optimization. Weeds intrude on the narrative that we have it all together. We may not always recognize what a particular fallow period—whether an afternoon, or the interminable pause in which we currently find ourselves—is providing. But claiming time for ourselves is, itself, an act of liberation. As the artist Anne Percoco put it, 'Weeds serve their own purposes.'"
Our Green New Deal: A Community-University Working Session for Environmental Justice In the Passaic River Watershed, Rutgers Newark School of Arts & Sciences, Newark, NJ
For the Next Epoch Seed Library, I’ve installed Lawn (Re)Disturbance Laboratory at two sites at Seton Hall University, in concert with the exhibition, New World Water, opening in November, and curated by Samantha Becker and Jeanne Brasile. I’ll be monitoring these sites through the fall and documenting what species grow.
The Next Epoch Seed Library is grateful to receive a grant from the Puffin Foundation to fund our 2019 activities.
See page 32. Thanks Simone!
I’m presenting at this conference, on Sunday afternoon!
For the past two weeks I’ve been in residence at Mass MoCA’s Studios. I’m revisiting my Parallel Botany project, extrapolating the leaves into whole plants, via collage. Photos by Dylan McLaughlin.
“A library of invasive weeds and survivors” by Enrique Gili, for Deutsche Welle
I’m currently the “featured artist” on JerseyArts.com!
Ellie Irons and Anne Percoco want you to rethink weeds. The artists run the Next Epoch Seed Library, a seed bank stocked with specimens from vacant lots, sidewalks, and superfund sites in the New York City area. The plants tend to get torn out or doused with herbicides—but they also help stabilize soil, suck up carbon, and keep cities cooler as the climate changes.
Wild city plants also help support pollinators like bees in urban areas—which is why the seed library is part of a new exhibit called Nectar: War upon the Bees at Pratt Manhattan Gallery.
“We’re trying to help validate and help people engage with these wild plants that are often called weeds," says Irons. "And to think about them as habitat, think about them as these really valuable parts of green infrastructure . . . that would also be beneficial for a whole suite of nonhumans, including bees.”