Reclaiming the Invisible

Reclaiming the Invisible (2019)
Zine & participatory project made for the Mitchell Art Gallery (Edmonton) for an event I organized as part of the programming for Leanne Olson’s exhibition – With all Things Considered.

[Limited edition of 25, each with instruction set and 5 Common Sunflower Seeds – to be planted spring/summer 2020 in & around various neighbourhoods in Edmonton]

Reclaiming the invisible considers waste that is primarily invisible to us, waste that is entrenched in the soil and unidentifiable to the naked eye: contaminates offset from industry and methods of extraction. That we have built our waste management sites outside of daily view is by design and this participatory event wonders how it is that we might see waste differently, and how our relationship to waste might shift if we had some way to see it anew.

Starting with seeds from the seeds for the end of the world seed-saving project (2015, ongoing), participants will consider how hyperaccumulators—plants that have the ability to take up more metals than normal—are utilized in phytoremediation projects to help rid toxins from the earth. Interested in how it is that together we might think through issues of invisible waste, Reclaiming the invisible looks to how plants might help guide us in this effort.

The event is split into two parts: Nicholas Brown will present examples of bioremediation and phytoremediation strategies currently in practice around Edmonton, followed by a participatory action inspired by the event scores of the FLUXUS movement. This action will extend responsibility for land reclamation on to participants, providing them the tools they need to reclaim toxic land in their own neighbourhoods and communities.

Nick Brown is primarily interested in enhancing land reclamation techniques through the application of native plant-microbe interactions. He earned his BSc in Land Reclamation through the University of Alberta, and has developed field and lab experience as a lab technician in grassland and forest ecology. Nick is investigating how we can use native plant species to enhance degradation of hydrocarbons in soils, and is assessing the effects these species and the soils have on the composition and function of soil microbial communities. He is currently pursuing an MSc in Land Reclamation and Remediation from the University of Alberta.

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