People and plants conference at Cambridge University, June 26 - 27, 2014
Dr Elizabeth Hsu on diversity, commonality and “thinginess”:
I am inspired by 17th century Chinese philosophers who spoke of shi, the propensity of things (Jullien 1995), and 20th century phenomenologists who spoke of a frighteningly similar concept, affordances (Straus, Gibson, Leder, etc.), which STS has recently taken up.
These concepts direct the researcher’s attentiveness to the thing, and its thinginess, suggesting that the effectiveness of a thing is given in its material configurations and the demands those put on its surroundings.
It would appear that in certain situations people interact with their environments in seemingly unmediated and direct ways that seem to respond more to the situational constellation and material condition than anything else.
Image: eatdrinkbetter.comNick Meyer | AltHealthWORKS
Even as the United States government continues to push for the use of more chemically-intensive and corporate-dominated farming methods such as GMOs and monoculture-based crops, the United Nations is once against sounding the alarm about the urgent need to return to (and develop) a more sustainable, natural and organic system.
That was the key point of a new publication from the UN Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) titled“Trade and Environment Review 2013: Wake Up Before It’s Too Late,” which included contributions from more than 60 experts around the world.
The Earth Knows My Name, by Patricia Klindienst, is an exploration of how the making of gardens and the growing of food help ethnic and immigrant Americans maintain and transmit their cultural heritage while they put roots down in American soil. Through their work on the land, these gardeners revive cultures in danger of being lost. Through the vegetables, fruits, and flowers they produce, they share their culture with their larger communities. And in their reverent use of natural resources they keep alive a relationship to the land all but lost to mainstream culture.
This was the theme for the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale (Autumn 2012). The project is an archive of a diverse range of work by designers, architects, artists and researchers engaged in dialogue with the issues of urban life. Collectively, the 124 urban interventions, represent a growing movement of people acting on problematic urban situations, creating new opportunities and amenities for the public.
DIY, guerrilla urbanism, and action! lie at the heart of the works collected for this project.
Commissioned by the New York Hall of Science for ReGeneration, artist Amy Franceschini has created a mobile fieldwork station that aims to challenge the dominance of ”modern quantitative science as compared to the long tradition of qualitative indigenous knowledge through an inventory of distinctive tools, exemplary specimen and mappings that explore new ways to relate to the plant life around us.”
E.S. is one of the many projects undertaken by the FutureFarmers artist collective. They are “artists, researchers, designers, architects, scientists and farmers with a common interest in creating frameworks for exchange that catalyze moments of “not knowing”.
One of the most inspiring and important articles on why we garden, from The RHS : The Garden Magazine http://bit.ly/1czv2Dt
Even in the war-torn regions of Afghanistan, Palestine and Israel the gardening tradition endures, providing a peaceful distraction for many in the face of frightening adversity
Author and photography: Lalage Snow, photographer, journalist and film-maker