Seed saving, composting, growing, planting, reaping and sowing, the cultivation of a field. Agricultural practices are a consistent source of inspiration for artists and designers. It can also be a place to start for rethinking how we relate to the landscape and how we think about conservation practices.This week's links connect to artist and designer projects that deal with agriculture, as well as, the work being done in Denmark to cultivate biodiversity via an ancient agricultural practice.
Here in Denmark, the traditional practice of "scything" is seeing a resurgence in popularity as groups join together to go out and cut grass with a scythe (slå med le). Cutting in this old fashioned method, without heavy machinery increases biodiversity in the grass meadow (a type of ecoregion) by allowing native flowers, plants, and insects suppressed by the grass to thrive. This social activity is a form of community organized environmental conservation melded with ancient agricultural practices. You can read about it online here and here, download a PDF made by the Danish Naturstyrelsen (Nature Protection Organization) for further reading, and watch a video tutorial here.
The folks over at Kultivator have a new project involving composting. As part of the exhibition, Hungry City: Agriculture in Contemporary Art, (Berlin, Kunstraum Kreuzberg) they are presenting Guerilla Composting: Feed Back Berlin. From their website, "The lack of organic matter brought back to the soil in modern large scale farming is rapidly destroying invaluable top-soil worldwide, putting the whole food production of the future at risk." Their piece combines vermicomposting (or worm composting), audience participation, and public space.
Future Farmers , a collaborative art group based in the US and Belgium, have a long history of exploring agricultural themes in their art practice. There website is an amazing resource for projects like, Rainwater Harvester Feedback Loop, that incorporate growing systems into cultural work. One of the group's members, Amy Franceschini recently developed a project called This is Not a Trojan Horse with Michael Taussig. The project looked at agricultural practices in the Abruzzo region of Italy trough an interactive sculpture.
Designer, Lisa Johannson has harvested the power of compost not for soil regeneration, but for making hard liquor. Check out this crazy project: A compost distillery.
Finally, the image at the top was made by our friend, Claire Pentecost, when she vermicomposted an American flag in her basement in Chicago. The resulting photo is called Proposal for a New American Agriculture.