Census of Weeds

THANE, INDIA. During this workshop, students of Thane conducted a census of weeds near Upvan Lake, inspired by the tree census performed by the local government.

This census involved drawing and taking measurements, which are posted to a project website. Tags with QR codes leading to the site were tied to the weeds. The stalks of the weeds were painted to mimic the identifying stripes on the censused trees.

Thane City has carved itself out of the forest at a rapid pace. Although developed areas have replaced many wilderness areas, there are still wild elements of nature in the city, growing abundantly in sidewalk cracks and unused spaces. This project is about paying close attention to the whole ecosystem, even the most humble and overlooked elements, and celebrating their collective persistence.

As Gary Snyder asks in his book The Practice of the Wild, “Where do we start to resolve the dichotomy of the civilized and uncivilized wild?"

"…Wilderness may temporarily dwindle, but wildness won’t go away. A ghost wilderness hovers around the entire planet: the millions of tiny seeds of the original vegetation are hiding in the mud on the foot of an arctic tern, in the dry desert sands, or in the wind."

Photography by Rutuja Padwal.

Upvan Arts Festival
Student Workshop, Public Intervention, and Website
Funded By
Foundation for Contemporary Art's Emergency Grant