farmlab Public Salon
Amy Balkin
Friday, November 7, 2008 @ Noon
Free Admission

On the Ground

About The Salon
How does does the history of land apportionment and toxic waste dump siting in California relate to climate change and emissions trading? Join Amy Balkin for a discussion about land, art, climate, and justice as they relate to her projects Invisible-5, Public Smog, and This is the Public Domain.

Amy is a collaborator on Invisible-5, an environmental justice audio tour along the Interstate 5 corridor between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Working together with Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, Pond: Art, Activism, and Ideas, and artists Kim Stringfellow and Tim Halbur, the collaborators created a tour of 23 stops, each a site of geopolitical struggle on the route. These conflicts are articulated by a range of citizen-activists whose health and lives have been altered by historic and current race and class inequity in the siting and distribution of polluting land uses in California. You can download the project at

She will also discuss two ongoing attempts to initiate public parks – Public Smog, an atmospheric clean-air park that fluctuates in location and scale, and This is the Public Domain, is an attempt to open a permanent global commons near Tehachapi, CA. Activities to create Public Smog have included purchasing and retiring emission offsets in regulated emissions markets, making them inaccessible to polluting industries, and an attempt to submit the atmosphere for inscription on the World Heritage List.

About The Presenter
San Francisco-based artist Amy Balkin’s practice combines cross-disciplinary research and social critique, exploring how people create, interact with, and impact the social and material landscapes we inhabit.

Her projects often involve multidisciplinary collaborations with artists, activists, scientists, and others, in works that increasingly consider spatial and environmental justice, including This is the Public Domain (2001+), Public Smog (2004+), and the audio tour collaboration Invisible-5 (2006). Her most recent work is Sell us your Liberty, or we’ll Subcontract your Death (2008), a series of large-format rubbings taken from architectural signage of San Francisco Bay Area entities engaged in the local production of war.

In 2007 she traveled to the Arctic with Cape Farewell, a UK-based project to bring artists and scientists together to enhance public awareness of climate change.

Photo: (Top) Courtesy Amy Balkin

Labels: ,



Farmlab Public Salon
Mark Vallianatos
Presented w/ Next American CityMagazine
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ Noon
Free Admission

The Politics of Food

About the Salon

Next American City is a Philadelphia-based national nonprofit magazine that cover cities across the country. Our goal is to highlight what is working and not working our cities, so we can promote sustainable growth.

As part of our new event initiative, we want to visit the cities we walk about - so starting in Los Angeles, Next American City will be visiting a different city across the country each month. In each city we will be hosting a series of events to bring out like-minded individuals and engage them in conversation pertinent to the future of their city. In Los Angeles, we will kick off the first in our lecture series, "The Livable City," with a conversation about food and its role in an urban city like Los Angeles.

"Mark Vallianatos, policy director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College, will discuss Los Angeles' politicized food landscape—from the city’s agricultural heritage, food justice and the fast-food ban, to the future of food in a city transformed by immigration and global trade."

About the Opening Presentation

Prior to Vallianatos' lecture, Farmlab is pleased to welcome another pair of special guests, Los Angeles artists Charles Hachadourian & Poorang Nori, as they present their performance piece, "Toneer Lavash."

From the duo:

"Baking bread is poly-ethnic, multi-tribal ritual shared by most grain-eating peoples. Whether baked in a simple earthen oven, tandoor, or toneer, the simple act of dropping or plopping of a rolled out billet of dough on a wall of semi-porous clay or earthen conical vessel heated by a simple fire, provides a quick nourishing, tasty morsel.

"The toneer is a cylindrical or conically shaped baking oven use both in the Near and Middle East. It is buried in insulating earth where a small intake hole acts as a manifold for a wooden fire that quickly heats the vertical inner walls of the toneer. A ball of dough is rolled out and stretched on top of a cotton covered pillow that is filled with straw. The pillow then is “puffed” on to the toneer wall. After a few seconds the baked lavash bread is removed from the wall with a pointy skewer."

Labels: ,



Thanks Everyone + See You Monday

Great thanks to everyone involved with the Chora Prints 2008 project, and to everyone who attended and participated in last night's opening reception.

The Farmlab gallery will be closed the rest of the weekend. We look forward to welcoming all of you to see the project next Mon-Fri, from 10am-5pm daily, or by appointment.

For more information, including a print gallery, print purchasing information, and photo gallery, please visit the website.

Thank you all again, and everyone soon.

-The Metabolic Studio / Chora / Farmlab team

Labels: ,



Chora Prints 2008
New Political Posters From TJ2LA
Nuevos Posters Politicos de TJ a LA

Receptions & Schedule

Chora Prints 2008: New Political Posters From TJ2LA /
Nuevos Posters Politicos de TJ a LA opens in Los Angeles tonight, Friday, October 24, 2008, from 7-10pm at Farmlab -- 1745 N. Spring Street #4, LA, CA 90012

Participating Artists

John Carr
Ofelia Esparaza
Ruben Esparza
Brandy Flower
Miguel Angel Reyes
Jose Ramirez

Maria del Carmen Arroyo
Mely Barragan
Alvaro Blancarte
Luis Garzon
Alfredo Gutierrez
Noni Olabisi
Roberto Rosique
Daniel Ruanova

Sandow Birk
Lauren Bon
Mark Bradford
George Herms
Hannah Krut-Powell
Qingyun Ma
Rich Neilson
Felicity Powell

About The Project

For more information, including photo gallery, print gallery, video gallery, and more, please visit

Labels: ,



La Ofrenda 2008
November 2-7, 2008
@ Los Angeles State Historic Park

For the fourth year in a row Farmlab invites you to celebrate life by honoring our ancestors with La Ofrenda.

Walk among the field of zempoalxochitl (marigolds), enjoy the beauty of nature and the L.A. Skyline, where you will be greeted by a magical place. Inside Anabolic Monument, Lauren Bon's artwork at the northern end of the State Historic Park, you will come upon a community offering: La Ofrenda. Place a picture or a name of the being that you are remembering and offer your song, words, or flowers to that ancestor.

La Ofrenda will be open to the public from Nov. 2 - 7 at the Los Angeles State Historic Park inside the Anabolic Monument during regular park hours, which are from dawn to dusk. Farmlab welcomes you.

-- Olivia Chumacero, La Ofrenda coordinator

Photo Illustration: Not A Cornfield Ofrenda 2006.

Labels: ,



Basket Making Workshop
Sunday, October 26, 2008 @ 1-4pm

Farmlab and the Tongva people, the indigenous tribe of the Los Angeles basin area, invited one and all last Sunday to an afternoon of craft and celebration featuring basket making, gourd painting, xempoalxochitl (marigold) stringing, and the opportunity to identify Southern California native plants. The celebration took place amidst Cornhenge, the metabolic monument, located on the grounds of the Los Angeles State Historic Park. All workshops were free-of-charge and open to the public.

Labels: ,



Farmlab Public Salon
Ben Sullivan, Bonnie Bills, Bo Oppenheim & Caroline Heldman
Friday, October 24, 2008 @ Noon
Free Admission

Obama, McCain and the Sciences

About the Salon

Barring catastrophe, either Barak Obama or John McCain will be the next president of the United States. As such, he will be the single most influential figure in U.S. science funding for at least the next four years. But where do the candidates stand on the sciences, and to what extent will ideology affect their funding choices?

With the nation facing ballooning deficits, and the possibility of a risk-averse Wall Street pulling back from private sector investment, will alternative energy, stem cell research, space exploration, climate change and other important science fields be left by the way? Or will one of these two men lead the charge to a new era in U.S. science dominance?

About the Salon Participants

Bo Oppenheim is Professor of Mechanical and Systems Engineering at Loyola Marymoung University and Graduate Director of Mechanical Engineering. He is also Director of the US Department of Energy's Industrial Assessment Center and Co-Chair of the Lean Systems Engineering Working Group, for the International Council for Systems Engineers.

Caroline Heldman is an Assistant Professor of Politics, Occidental College, Los Angeles. She has published in the top journals in her field, and has co-authored Rethinking Madame President: Are we Ready for a Woman in the White House. She specializes in the presidency, media, gender, and race in the American context. She holds a bachelors degree in business administration from Washington State University, and has worked as the General Manager for Bio-Energy Systems and a Research Manager for Consumer Health Sciences. Dr. Heldman has also been active in "real world" politics as a congressional staffer, campaign manager, campaign consultant, and political activist.

Bonnie Bills is writing her MA thesis in philosophy on the ethical obligations of science journalists. An Echo Park-based writer and editor, she spent many years developing consumer and professional books on digital photography and computer hardware and software for the publisher Sybex, and she has written about public health, women's health care, AIDS, and the environmental and social effects of technology for various print and online news publications. Her philosophical interests include critiques of scientific realism, the demarcation between science and pseudoscience, science research and social accountability, the presentation of risk and probability, bioethics, environmental ethics, and philosophy of technology.

Ben Sullivan is editor and publisher of He has written about science, health care and business for publications including the Los Angeles Times, the Economist Intelligence Unit, the New York Times Magazine and the LA Weekly. He lives in Highland Park.

Image from via Ben Sullivan

Labels: ,



F.L.A.G. Moving

Here's a short video about the recent move of the Farmlab Agbin Garden (F.L.A.G.). Read here for more information about the project.

Labels: ,



Farmlab Public Salon
Marqueece Harris-Dawson
Friday, October 17, 2008 @ Noon
Free Admission

How A Presidential Campaign Resembles Community Organizing -- On a Grand Scale

About the Salon

Join Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Executive Director of Community Coalition, as he compares and contrasts the process of campaigning for the presidency with the process of community organizing.

About the Salon Presenter

Marqueece Harris-Dawson has been a dedicated activist for more than twenty years. He completed his Bachelor?s degree at Morehouse College. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Community Coalition, a community-based organization in South Los Angeles. Marqueece is the second Executive Director of Community Coalition, following its founder, current California State Assembly Member, Karen Bass. The organization is best known for leading grassroots campaigns to close over 200 liquor stores and other nuisance businesses in South Los Angeles and winning the struggle to obtain College Prep courses for all LAUSD high school students.

For five years, Marqueece ran the Community Coalition youth project, South Central Youth Empowered thru Action, as Program Director. During that time, he led a campaign to expose the poor learning conditions at South Los Angeles High Schools. Student members of South Central Youth Empowered thru Action entered their schools, armed with disposable cameras and documented the conditions they were facing on a daily basis. They then trained to advocate for the badly needed repairs at their campuses, including leaking bathrooms and faulty lighting systems. As a result of Marqueece?s focused leadership and the students? tenacity, they won $153 million in repairs for their schools.

In addition to his work at Community Coalition, Marqueece has extensive experience in electoral politics and is a key participant in the Progressive Movement in Los Angeles. Marqueece was a delegate to the United Nations World Conference Against Racism (2001, Durban, South Africa) and the World Festival of Students and Youth (1997, Havana, Cuba) and serves on a myriad of boards, committees and organization affiliations. Recently, Marqueece received a certificate in non profit management from Stanford?s Graduate School of Business.

More information about this salon to be posted soon...

Labels: ,



F.L.A.G. On the Move
New Volunteer Gardening Opportunities Available



Six months after its inception at the North end of the Los Angeles State Historic Park, the Farmlab Agbin Garden has gone mobile. In doing so we are experimenting with one of the key functions of the garden: its ability to maintain a viable community of gardeners while moving from one location to another.

Though the move is a short one, merely to the other side of Baker St. adjacent to the Farmlab building, it allows the F.L.A.G. team to experience the garden in a very different environment. More limited sun exposure, access to rainwater from roofs, daily foot traffic from garment workers, and heavier car traffic are some of the challenges and opportunities the new site provides.

Some of the existing gardeners have reduced the size of their garden from three bins to one, making room for new volunteers to join to project.

If you are interested in gardening at F.L.A.G. please contact Jaime Lopez Wolters at [email protected]

Farmlab photos by Kate Balug

Labels: ,



Farmlab Public Salon
Sharon Sekhon
Date to be Determined, 2009 @ Noon

About the Salon

More information coming soon.

About the Salon Participant

Sharon Sekhon is the Founder & Director of the Studio for Southern California History.

The LA History Archive (Archive) ( is intended to be an online site to instantiate the Studio for Southern California History's mission of critically chronicling & disseminating the region's social history. The Archive is slated for public launch in the Fall of 2009. Using a 3 pronged approach with a forum, educator resources & online database, the Archive will provide ways to integrate local history into their lives including multimedia primary sources & lesson plans. The Archive will invite visitors to contribute to and help shape best practices for doing & teaching local history. One of the long-term goals for the Archive is to change state standards for learning local history, which currently ends at the fourth or fifth grade.

The Studio for Southern California History is a nonprofit resource that hosts exhibits, walking tours & conversations centered on Southern California's history in order to foster sense of place. The Studio is located in Chinatown at 525 Alpine Street, Suite 103, Los Angeles, 90012.

Labels: ,



Seeding, Constitution Talk, Community Circle
October 20, 2008 @ 8-10am

This just in from Farmlab consultant Olivia Chumacero:

"Hello co-conspirators for our planet,

October 20 @ 8-10 a.m. we are going to have a community circle that will begin seeding the amaranth and stringing xempoalxochitl, while Prof. Ides gives his talk on the Constitution and its reference to our everyday.

Volunteers from CBE, Homeboy, Chinatown TeenPost, and United Native American Involvement orgs. will be joining us that morning. These organizations have been sending volunteers throughout the summer as we worked to keep the 16 acre parksite cleared of invasive plants. In addition to the talk, and the physical tasks, there will also be live music.

Thank you everyone,

Labels: ,



Farmlab Public Salon
Carol Wells
Friday, October 10, 2008 @ Noon

Can Design Stop A War?

About the Salon

Join Carol Wells for the conversation, "Can Design Stop a War?," a topic she has presented on three continents about the power of posters opposing U.S. interventions into the domestic affairs of sovereign nations since World War II. These posters show hopes and dreams, and the pain of dreams destroyed. They document the efforts of people who refuse to remain silent and who use the power of art to inspire action. Wells will also show posters from recent and future exhibitions, including "Subvertisements—Using Ads and Logos for Protest"; "Presidential Rogues Gallery—Satirical Posters 1960s to the Present" and "MasterPeaces—High Art for Higher Purpose."

About The Salon Participant

Carol Wells is an activist, medieval art historian, curator, and poster collector. She started collecting posters in 1981 and produced her first exhibition that same year. She founded the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG) after realizing that no collections were using posters to educate, agitate and inspire people to action, which is why protest posters are made in the first place. CSPG has more than 65,000 human rights and protest posters, including the largest collection in the United States of posters from the 1960s to the present. For more information please visit CSPG’s website

Image: Environmental Action, Offset, 1969, Washington, D.C., 6338.
Image via

Labels: ,



Farmlab To Participate in William Mead Community Beautification Project
Saturday, October 11, 2008 @ 8am-1pm

Labels: ,