THE COMMUNITY IS NOT A HAPHAZARD COLLECTION OF INDIVIDUALS
made for Plastic Heart: Surface All The Way Through – curated by the Synthetic Collective for Art Museum @ University of Toronto
[digital print on organic cotton, animated GIF, participatory project with seed packs (grass & wildflower seed, mycorrhizal fungi), instruction set, postcards, website.]
THE COMMUNITY IS NOT A HAPHAZARD COLLECTION OF INDIVIDUALS considers the ways that plants help us to remediate land impacted by the petrochemical industry while also wondering how we might support them in return. Participants are invited to think through together (at a distance) strategies for working with plants in ways that are more supporting: that move beyond thinking about them as ‘technology’ performing a task, but rather as collaborators. Calling for a recalibration of perspective, the project invites participants to consider how, instead of relying on plants to do all of this work for us, we might in turn offer aid by supporting their ability to grow into the future. Upon committing to participate in the project via a website, participants will be sent a Natural Plant Community toolkit in the mail as preparation for planting their seeds in the spring. Each toolkit contains a custom-made package including seeds that have the potential to facilitate phytoremediation in sites contaminated with Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons.
Because the Canadian plastics industry is concentrated within three provinces: Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, this project is only open to those planting seeds within those regions.
Seeds we will be working with:
Canadian Wild Rye ~ Western Wheatgrass ~ Canada Anemone ~ Purple Avens ~ Giant Goldenrod ~ Rosy Pussytoes ~ Fringed Loosestrife ~ Blue Columbine ~ Smooth Blue Aster ~ Graceful Cinquefoil ~ Great Blanket Flower ~ Anise Hyssop ~ Black Eyed Susan ~ Wild Bergamot ~ Joe Pyeweed ~ Yarrow.
Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons: the mixture of hydrocarbons found in crude oil.
Phytoremediation: the use of plants to help rehabilitate soil and groundwater contaminated by toxic metals and organic compounds.
Exhibition images courtesy of Art Musem at the University of Toronto: