Foragers, Weeds gardens and Gatherings
a community based art project about gardens, plants, weeds and their use. Nov 2017
Foragers, Weed Gardens and Gatherings (FWG) was a community based art project about untapped resources and new ways of coming together. Through a series of community focused HOW TO workshops, gatherings, expeditions, exchanges and art events across October, FWG unearthed, explored and celebrated contemporary and historical knowledge and use of local, native and imported vegetables, flowers, greens, weeds and their use. By revaluing the use of untamed areas and the foods that grow there, and by fostering local networks and local knowledge within artistic frameworks, FWG will cultivate new understandings and lived knowledge of ones environment to support well-being and reignite a sense of value, purpose, collectivity and cohesion within the cultural diversity of Semaphore.
FWG has been initiated and guided by local community members, participating artists and OSCA who have been gardening out of St Bedes Community Garden since 2015.
A final event entitled FINDERS SHARERS, at the St Bede’s Garden, Semaphore on the 12th of Nov brought together the workshop outcomes and locally sourced food stocks alongside participants working across sustainable urban practices of food, nutrition, fashion and art production in an inaugural Spring community gathering and celebration.
This project is supported by The Australian Council and the City of Port Adelaide Enfield through its Community Grants program.
The best place to forage is your own back-yard – Diego Bonetto
Saturday 12 November – Sunday 13 November, 2016
Futurelands2 was a two day public forum at Kandos NSW exploring our changing relationship to land. From the impacts of global warming to the costs of industrial farming and the revival of Aboriginal agriculture, from the issue of population expansion to the evolving energy production sector, it is clear that our relationship to land is changing. Land has become a serious issue for many people, and how we all care for and use it has become a topic of increasing interest and discussion.
Futurelands2 brought together innovative farmers, Indigenous historians and land custodians, soil scientists, economists, writers and artists to explore emerging practices in farming, land care and energy production and spark new conversations about the human relationship to land.
It was proudly hosted by Cementa Inc and the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation, in partnership with the Material Ecologies Research Network (MECO) at University of Wollongong and the Space, Place and Country research cluster from Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.
Futurelands2 was organised by the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation.
Where cultural workers pull their weight in crafting the new narratives of tomorrow.
Join the Liverpool Food Fight
We believe everyone has the right to access fresh, nutritious, affordable and culturally appropriate food.
Food Fight was a live art event held in Bigge Park, Liverpool on Saturday 30 April designed to raise awareness about food security and access for everyone in the Liverpool and South Western Sydney areas.
Led by contemporary artists Diego Bonetto and Branch Nebula, in partnership with the MCA's C3West Program and Liverpool City Council, this collaborative project brought together a range of “food heroes” and “food warriors” from the local community, including students from Liverpool Girls’ High School, community kitchen volunteers, food advocates, top cooks and performers.
Ongoing Public Program
Artist Educators from the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia worked closely with students from Liverpool Girls High School during ‘Food Fight’, exploring food security and the power of contemporary art. This video captures a subsequent program in 2017, which built on the themes and activities of ‘Food Fight’.
For more information visit /c3west/food-fight-battle-food-security/
How can I help?
The event might be over but the fight for food security isn't. Donate your time, money or spare food to any number of excellent organisations working to ensure access to affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food for everyone. We've listed just a few below.
Led by Food Warrior Pastor Mick Agius, Inspire Community provides vital food relief and community services across South West Sydney, including the Liverpool Community Kitchen and Hub.
Foodbank are the major provider of food for relief services across Australia, acting as a conduit between the food sector's surplus food and the welfare sector's needs.
Wcollects quality excess food from more than 2,000 commercial outlets and delivers it, direct and free of charge, to more than 800 charities
Led by Food Warrior Alexandra Iljadica, this national volunteer-led organisation aims to build the skills, knowledge and experience that young people have around food.
Food facts & figures
- Nearly one million Aussie kids go without breakfast or dinner.
- Two million Australians rely of food relief every year, half of them children.
- 6.2% of households had 'run out of food and could not afford to buy more' in the last 12 months.
- Australians throw out one of every five shopping bags.
Soon to come a publication (early 2018)
This project consisted of a bus (or bike) tour of the inner Sydney suburbs of Redfern and Waterloo. The tour highlighted particular sites which were threatened by the Redfern Waterloo Authority's plan to "revitalise" the area.
Each tour lasted 4-5 hours, and tourists were addressed by various representatives of the local community - for example, from the Aboriginal Housing Company, the local Indigenous Women's Centre, the Settlement Community Centre, the REDWatch activist group, architects, designers, and the Indigenous Social Justice Association.
Each speaker presented his/her perspective on the rapidly gentrifying suburb. The tour asked: what was to be lost and what was to be gained by the process of urban transformation? How could it be done better? And how would it affect people on the ground?
About 15 tours were run during the period 2005-2009.
The Tour of Beauty operated as a piece of aesthetic activism, providing a complex but concrete experience of urban social and architectural dynamics. The Tour was a plug-in for various conferences, exhibitions and visiting study groups. It was the catalyst for meetings between Indigenous and white activists in Sydney, and led to many spin off projects, the most visible being the large-scale exhibition event There Goes the Neighbourhood (2009), co-curated by SquatSpace's Keg de Souza and Zanny Begg.
Urban spaces are home to some of the most varied and thriving ecosystems in Australia and Alderley’s streets and yards are no exception. The Beasts of Alderley celebrates these places and the lifeforms that inhabit them in an unforgettable journey deep into the wild heart of Brisbane. Learn of interspecies relationships and discover stories of accidental immigration, long distance romance, bitter conflict and perfect co-dependence. Perhaps the wilderness isn’t so far away after all?
The Beasts of Alderley is a permanent public artwork made up of 12 illustrated panels, each describing organisms with whom we cohabit. The project reminds us that urban environments are more than just human worlds and are a part of the dynamic, evolving, complex ecosystems. From the tiny inhabitants of the human digestive tract through to the impressively large mounds of leaf litter made by the famous brush turkey, the Beasts of Alderley Wilderness Trail passes through the fascinating habitats and describes the controversies that go with them. With an exciting itinerary for the adventurous, this project rethinks what is wilderness.
Beasts of Alderley is a collaborative artwork by artists Diego Bonetto, Tega Brain and Mark Gerada, commissioned by the Brisbane City Council and with input from the local community of Alderley. See here for more details>
Let it be Wild is outdoor sculptural garden part of "WATCHING CLOUDS PASS THE MOON " at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery
How beautiful it is to roll down a hill, to collect a flower and to harvest a berry from a laden bush. Such prospects of interactions with nature are common in our psyche, literature and behavioural lexicon. But how much of it is a reality for our younger generations?
In 1998, American botanists James Wandersee and Elizabeth Schussler defined plant blindness as "the inability to see or notice the plants in one's own environment," which brings the "inability to recognize the importance of plants in the biosphere and in human affairs." This happens in an age when most youngsters can identify hundreds of corporate logos and branded products but can't name the plants and trees in their backyards.
With Let it be Wild I am presenting a provocation, and a learning arena. A place where guests can reacquaint themselves with common plants that surround us everyday, and yet we do not see. With Let it be Wild you will be guided into an experiential journey, filled with visuals, smells, sensations and flavours.
Step in, you might reconnect to a wilder you.
GBAW was an extensive research project on the excitement and struggle of the ’70s in Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst and Kings Cross. A guided walk was available to the public and a self-guided walk was available for locals, tourists and scholars who wanted to know more about the Green Bans and how they shaped the urban development of Sydney’s suburbs.
Please consult the project's website here>
The Wild Stories project is an ongoing public engagement program that aim at teaching back foraging skills into the community. Current activities are listed in the dedicated Facebook group here>
The project initiated at Casula Powerhouse Art Centre and surrounding parklands in 2011 and culminated in a major exhibition at the centre at the end of 2012, presenting 2 years of workshops, skill sharing activities, cooking classes and story-telling events live and through social media.
The Wild Stories project was awarded first prize for Interdisciplinary Arts and Culture: Environmental arts at the Local Government Arts&Culture Awards 2014
Below one of the mini documentary produced back in 2012.
For this collaborative project we presented a national park’s style self guided tour of the wilderness of the city with a series of info-panels. The toungue-n-cheek work wanted to shift perspectives from the assumption that cities are void of nature, paying attention to the species which successfully call a city home and live along side humans. Indeed an urban environment is one of the most diverse environments, allowing for a surprising density and variety of non-human species. As part of the temporary artwork we also offered a series of guided tours, where faux rangers provided for a fun and informing walk in the laneways of Sydney.
As it read:
Take an unforgettable journey deep into the wild heart of Sydney. Join our expert wildlife guides and discover rats, bugs, birds and bankers in their fascinating city habitats.
The City Wilderness Trail is a distributed public art project that acknowledges the city as host to an incredible diversity of non-human populations. Our wildlife researchers have created an urban trail that draws attention to fifteen different bird, mammal and insect species that live in the CBD. Signs are hidden throughout the laneways and spaces along George Street.
Our urban environments are more than just human worlds yet we often approach other urban species with disgust or negative feelings. This project celebrates urban biodiversity as something of value that should be welcomed and designed for. Instead of approaching nature as something that is ‘out there’, the City Wilderness Trail presents the natural world as a dynamic, evolving and complex system of which our cities and societies are actually an important part.
Other links here>
This project was the result of a 3 months self-started residency at the Fondazione Baruchello, Rome, Italy.
Gianfranco Baruchello is an Italian artist that since the early sixties has developed one of the most experimental art practices on the Italian scene, exploring painting, installation, assembly, film, photography and sound and expanding the visual search beyond the traditional linguistic areas, working with the tools of agriculture, anthropology, and economics as a form of critical analysis of consumer society.
The Fondazione Baruchello is a trust set up to look after Agriciola Cornelia Spa, an agricultural business directed by the artist, where the produce was also an artwork.
During my 3 months residency I worked with a group of art history students from the Universita’ la Sapienza di Roma, on a program of weekly meeting investigating landscape, and cultural representation of it. The resulting documentation was collated in an exhibition curated by Carla Subrizi, -see images here- and a permanent artwork in the form of a trail and a map.
Along the map we defined and wrote about 14 direction of investigations. The map provides for an overlay of narratives on the landscape, reflecting on fear, sustainment, emergency, evolution, technology, exploitation, primitivism and more.
Tending was an experimental garden project in one of the courtyards at Sydney College of the Arts.
The project was initiated by Professor Ross Gibson, who hired Lucas Ihlein and Diego Bonetto to "create a garden at Sydney College of the Arts and write a blog about the process".
Gardening began in July 2010. Bonetto and Ihlein spent one day per week on site, slowly watching as the garden evolved via our smallish interventions.
TENDING is not a community garden per se (with plots and allotments and such). Rather, it was conceived as a way of intervening lightly in the social and biological fabric of the college.
Chance interactions with university staff and students, and community members beyond Sydney College of the Arts, were documented on the TENDING blog.
Ihlein and Bonetto finished their tenure at TENDING in mid 2011. Others have since taken up the fork and spade, as the garden continues to wax and wane depending on available energy.
The Hanging Gardens & Other Tales was a neighbourhood-specific installation at CarriageWorks Arts Centre (in Sydney’s Redfern) made up of pot plants on loan from local residents. The project was a collaboration between Makeshift and Diego Bonetto and took place as part of the Underbelly Public Arts Lab + Festival, July 3 – 13, 2008. It involved collecting plants and personal stories from participating ‘neighbours’ over a period of 2 weeks, and slowly hanging both stories and plants from the remnant structural components of this historic converted railyard.
As each plant was delivered to our reception desk, its owner filled in a registration form with care instructions, plant & owner details etc. At some point this form was filed, and an individual ink drawing of the plant was made. The plant was then added to the installation on tiered or hanging platforms, where it was looked after until the close of the festival. Eventually, its home location was also marked on a 1989 map of the area nestled within the installation.
A small portion of the stories we collected (and accompanying owner-plant portraits) were published on this blog»
An environmental art campaign started in 2006 advocating for a more culturally aware interpretation of landscape and useful species. The website style and content was freely pirated from the (then) official government website for weed control in Australia. Together with the available information weedyconnection.com also provided further details about the plants, omitted in the government website. weedyconnection.com was issued an order to cease and desist for the breaching of copyright regulations in 2010. The webmaster complied with the order and re-uploaded the website one month later with all images sourced from Creative Commons databases. The project pushes the boundaries of art and legitimacy, inserting itself in galleries as much as parks, academic and scientific forums, community events and online in the form of a database and a blog.
SquatFest happened every year from 2001 to 2010, at the same date and time as TropFest. While the hopeful entrants for TropFest are fretting about whether they'll get the chance to move up a rung in the Hollywood Sweatshop, artists and activists from 'round Australia are living it up, projecting films and videos in an inspiring squatted venue.
SquatFest began at the Broadway Squats in 2001, and has since made appearances at the Midnight Star Social Centre, the Sydney Park Brickworks, the Sydney Dental Hospital, under the grandstand at Esrkineville, and many other amazing venues! Our film programmes have toured to Newcastle, Melbourne, Perth, and Indonesia.
Check out a site by some friends of ours, dedicated to the history of SquatFest here(that site uses Macromedia Flash, let us know if you have troubles viewing it!)