No Public Salon Friday May, 1

There will be no Public Salon Series happening this coming Friday, May 1, 2009.

The Series resumes May 8, 2009 at its regularly scheduled Friday @ noon time and place.

Please come join us for a conversation that day with climate expert Jeremy Pal.

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Metabolic Studio Located Within Proposed "Clean Tech Corridor"

Today's Los Angeles Times includes an article discussing and a map showing the boundaries of a proposed "CleanTech Manufacturing Center" for the city. The Metabolic Studio (Farmlab+Chora+AMI) sits well inside the area.

Excerpted from the article, by Maeve Reston:

"Last fall, CRA officials and the mayor's business team began courting clean technology companies - talking up the purchasing power of the city's public utilities, as well as the array of tax incentives available to business."

The full story is here.

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Meet the PLANT Blog

[UPDATE: PLANT mentioned in Rochester City Paper]

This Rochester, NY-based site stands on its own, as well as precedes and foreshadows the rest of an upcoming exhibition related to Not A Cornfield.

That exhibition will open May 9, 2009 at the George Eastman House, in Rochester. More information to be posted here soon.

In the meanwhile, on the "About Plant" page, you'll find the below:

"PLANT – Place, Land, Art & Agriculture, Neighbors and Technology – is a community wide cultural initiative that will function as a hub for citizens to share actions and ideas related to urban land use, urban greening and public health.

"PLANT Rochester is an initiative of the George Eastman House (GEH) and Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo). Inspired by artist Lauren Bon’s Not A Cornfield project and it’s ongoing offshoot Farmlab, an L.A. based collaborative that is dedicated to nurturing life in the urban environment.

"Initiated in August 2008, PLANT will:

* Host weekly events at GEH and RoCo, such as panel discussions, lectures about land use and public health, public fruit picking tours, and local history tours.
* Instigate citywide participation in international and national events such as Park(ing) Day.
* Establish a basecamp/workshop room at Rochester Contemporary Art Center from which excursions will depart and dialog will flow.
* Host an exhibition about community-based and local citizen actions at the intersection of art and agriculture, opening at RoCo May 2009.
* Host an exhibition about Not a Cornfield at George Eastman House opening May 2009.

"Why GEH?
With the opportunity to present the forthcoming exhibition Not A Cornfield, Eastman House is proud to explore and celebrate the agricultural legacy of George Eastman by engaging the community in a dialog around the history, heritage, and current/future importance of agriculture in Rochester.

"Why RoCo?
Rochester Contemporary Art Center brings fresh ideas in contemporary Art to Rochester audiences. Contemporary multi-disciplinary art practice is open to pursuits beyond the purely aesthetic activity contained within the white cube of the gallery. PLANT builds upon the visual communication strategies and shared space of the gallery and gives added voice to the actions and ideas of Agriculture and Community outreach agencies from all around Rochester. Contemporary artists have increasingly embraced such social practice for the past forty years. Joseph Beuys called it “Social Sculpture”, Claire Bishop writes about “Participation”, Grant Kester describes it as “Dialogic”, and Nicholas Bourriaud calls it “Relational Aesthetics”. Implemented as social practice art communicates not only through image or object but through shared experience, person-to-person exchange, participation and learning. The primary material of social practice is interaction; its primary focus is on relationships – between people and between people and places. Its strategies include new genre public art, project-based community practice, research and information sharing, service actions, street performance and community outreach.

"Running hand-in-hand with the implementation of art as social practice, artists such as Helen and Newton Meyer Harrison, Bonnie Sherk and Lauren Bon have allied social and environmental concerns to create environmentally beneficial art that implements actual change on the ground. The Harrison’s Endangered Meadows (1994-98) for example saved a 400 year-old meadow in Germany from development. Sherk’s work Crossroads Community (The Farm) (1974-1980) integrated disparate land beside a freeway interchange into a new city farm in San Francisco. While Bon’s Not A Cornfield (2005-06) transformed 32-acres of Los Angeles’ post-industrial brownfield into a vibrant agricultural, social and cultural arena.

"Why Farmlab?
PLANT is inspired by the power of art and culture to transform the world and is aided by the example of Farmlab (2006-ongoing) an LA-based think-tank and art production studio dedicated to the preservation and perpetuity of all living things. Farmlab grew out of Not A Cornfield (NAC). Led by Bon, the Farmlab team conducts multi-disciplinary investigations into land use issues that are related to sustainability, livability, and health. Not A Cornfield and Farmlab continue to serve as catalysts for community involvement and change through the development of art actions.

"Why Now?
Over the last decade, Rochesterians have built strong foundations in support of diverse movements that focus on sustainable communities, agriculture and youth. These include: school-community gardens, neighborhood and citywide public markets, food security (establishing access to healthy, affordable, culturally acceptable food for neighborhood residents), nutritional and culinary education, agricultural work skills development, and food-based economic ventures.

"Functioning as a hub, a network, and a series of events, PLANT brings these diverse initiatives together into conversation about Rochester’s sustainable future. PLANT also recognizes that sustainable cities are aware of their own history and re-engaging citizens with urban Rochester’s agricultural past will contribute to rebuilding and solidifying Rochester’s core."

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PLANT Rochester Mentioned in City's Paper

From a piece in part about PLANT Rochester, written by Bleu Cease in the Rochester City News:

"PLANT, an acronym for Place, Land, Art & Agriculture, Neighbors and Technology, is an exhibition that attempts to bring this home. PLANT is a collaboration between Rochester Contemporary Art Center, George Eastman House, the Los Angeles-based Metabolic Studio, and numerous other local groups and organizations. PLANT challenges institutions to work together, and individuals to imagine and utilize the gallery as a social zone and resource center for sharing ideas and actions.

"The PLANT exhibition and its Sunday coffee hours simultaneously present and constitute an example of "participatory art practice," a loose category of cultural initiatives that brings people together to share in creative production and action. PLANT doesn't simply exhibit framed images, documenting an action. It IS an action. PLANT fosters discussions about the boundaries between art and the actions taken by a number of inspirational individuals and groups, those who are doing important work to improve our city. PLANT is as much about public health and urbanism as it is about aesthetics and white gallery walls."

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Onion's Earth Day Spoof Says: 'Plant Some Flowers in the Rusting Frame of a Car..."

The Onion's recent Earth Day infographic concludes with the following:

"Be sure to plant some flowers in the rusting frame of a car or inside a shattered old television set, as this will provide your local news station with a perfect visual metaphor for the revitalization of urban areas."

Assignment editors, this one's for you:

Photo for Farmlab by Joshua White, 2008

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Seed Library Photos

Above are shots of the Farmlab seed library room...

More information on the room coming to this blog soon...

Farmlab Photos by Sarah McCabe (top and middle) and Kate Balug (bottom), 2009

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Farmlab Public Salon
John Malpede & Susan Gray
Friday, April 24, 2009 @ Noon
Free Admission

Skid Row History Museum

About the Salon

Join Susan Gray, Arts Planner for the CRA-LA and John Malpede of Los Angeles Poverty Department for a discussion of their project to create a series of public artworks that would acknowledge the cultural contribution to the city of people who have lived and worked in Skid Row L.A., and to recognize the history and shifting contours of the area.

About the Salon Participants

John Malpede is a director, actor, activist, writer and the founder of the Los Angeles Poverty Department. At its inception, in 1985, LAPD was the first performance group in the nation made up principally of homeless people. LAPD is dedicated to building community on Skid Row, Los Angeles.

Since 1985, the company has offered performance workshops that are free and open to the Skid Row community— partnering with numerous social service and advocacy groups, including SRO Housing, Inc.; LA Community Action Network; The Downtown Women’s Action Coalition; St.Vincent DePaul Center; The Salvation Army’s Women’s and Men’s drug recovery programs; and the Inner City Law Center.

Susan Gray is the Arts Planner for the CRA-LA.

Photo courtesy John Malpede

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State Park Brochure Features Anabolic, Metabolic, Not A Cornfield

The California State Parks Department has issued a new brochure for the Los Angeles State Historic Park. (Visit here to download.)

LASHP is located across the street from Metabolic Studio (Farmlab+Chora+AMI), and is the site where the
Not A Cornfield project occurred and where the Anabolic Monument resides.

The cover of the fold-out brochure features an aerial photo by Joshua White, taken for and courtesy the Metabolic Studio.

Inside the brochure, a map of the park and immediate area notes the
Anabolic Monument as well as the "Farmlab / Metabolic Studio" headquarters.

And brochure text under the heading "Sanctuary in the City" reads:

"California State Parks acquired the park land in 2001. Before the development of the Interim Public Use Park plan, L.A. artist Lauren Bon planted 32 acres of corn on the vacant parkland, creating what came to be known as the "Not A Cornfield" project. The remnants of the project, now called the Anabolic Monument, functions as a vibrant and dynamic public* space."

To download the LASHP brochure,
visit here and follow the instructions.

Screen grab is from .pdf found on the site

*=Correction: In the original post, the word "public" was misspelled. That was this blog's error; the State Parks staff had the spelling accurate. We regret the mistake.

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Visiting Writer Touts Farmlab, Seed Library

In Eat My Words: Urban Farming, a recent post to her Gelatobaby blog, journalist Alissa Walker offered up the following observations about Farmlab:

"To my delight, some of the most interesting urban agriculture projects are happening right here in LA. I got to spend a day at Farmlab, the incredible project founded by artist Lauren Bon near Chinatown. After our tour of their radical urban agriculture structures, gardener Jaime Lopez Wolters took me on a bike ride tour through the former Not a Cornfield, now LA’s newest state park. If you go there now, you can see the wildflowers blooming.

"I also visited Farmlab’s seed library, which is probably the single coolest room I’ve ever been in. Every single plant they grow is hung upside down here until it dries so they can properly capture the seeds. They also have an annual seed giveaway, which was happening in December. If you haven’t been to Farmlab yet, I encourage you: Go."

Walker visited Farmlab while doing research and interviews for an article which appears in the March/April edition of ID magazine.

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Metabolic Studio Team Members, Salon Speakers, Among LA Weekly "People 2009"

The LA Weekly's annual "LA People" issue is out, and 2009 honorees include Metabolic Studio (Farmlab+Chora+AMI) member Paolo Davanzo, co-founder of the beloved Echo Park Film Center. Lisa Marr, likewise from EPFC and Metabolic Studio, is quoted in the piece.

The Annenberg Foundation is also mentioned in the story, for supporting EPFC and their purchase of a traveling veggie bus / microcinema.

Other "LA People" this year included Autumn Rooney, a former Farmlab colleague, for her work, with Lisa Gerstein, founding Echo Park Time Bank. A recent program the duo put on at Farmlab is noted in the write-up.

Edgar Arceneaux, Sean Percival, and Don Hrycyk also made this year's list. Each of those gentlemen have been, or is scheduled later this summer to be, a speaker in the Farmlab Public Salon Series. Gary Leonard, who shot news photos of Not A Cornfield, Farmlab, and the Anabolic Monument, is in the issue too. Bigs to the Bike Oven, too.

We're probably forgetting all sorts of other connections... Just one blog's quick read...

Also, here's last year's post that noted a handful of Farmlab friends and colleagues...

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Farmlab's Nodal To Be Honored Sunday

The California Lawyers for the Arts are scheduled to hold an awards ceremony and fundraiser in Santa Monica on Sunday, April 26, 2009.

Longtime Farmlab team member Adolfo V. Nodal will be among the five recipients of the Lawyers' "Artistic License Award 2009."

Other recipients include Abe Carnow, Danny Glover, Ben Guillory, and Don Knabe.

In addition to Nodal's work with Metabolic Studio (Farmlab+Chora+AMI) and, previously, with Not A Cornfield, he's the President of the City of Los Angeles' Cultural Affairs Commission, among many other accomplishments.

For more information about the upcoming awards ceremony, click here.

Note: This program is not related to or otherwise endorsed by The Metabolic Studio. But on behalf of everyone here, congratulations, Al!

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Anabolic Monument

Lauren Bon's sculpture Anabolic Monument is a thirty-meter-radius circle of decaying corn bales. The twenty-two bales were made from the remainder of corn plants grown on site and harvested during Ms Bon's artwork Not A Cornfield.

Located at the north side of the Los Angeles State Historic Park, this compost monument holds mystery and hosts numerous butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees in their odyssey toward nectar. It is tended by the Metabolic Studio in association with California State Parks.

Related Links:

  • About the Anabolic Monument

  • Public Harvest (1/31/09)

  • Goats (2/28-3/9/09)

  • More Goat photos

  • Wildflowers (2/28/09)

  • Flora & Fauna of the Los Angeles State Historic Park, as observed by a naturalist (5/08)

  • Aerial View 2/2009

  • Harvest & Seed Giveaway (12/20/08)

  • Community Marigold Harvest (12/1/2007)

  • Photo taken just north of Anabolic Monument (2/2009)

  • Photos taken just outside Anabolic Monument (2/28/09)

  • Not A Cornfield (2005-2006)

  • Not A Cornfield -- Cornhenge (i.e. an earlier name for the the Anabolic Monument)reacting

  • Not A Cornfield -- Cornhenge created

  • Not A Cornfield -- Cornhenge created, aerial view

  • Los Angeles State Historic Park

  • Anabolic Monument Facebook Group -- to join, Facebook members please search for the "anabolic monument" group

  • More past links to be added to this page soon, as archiving continues...

    Photos (from top): Farmlab photo by Joshua White 2009; iPhone photo copyright and courtesy Julie Pittman 2009; Not A Cornfield photo by Steve Rowell 2006.
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    Lauren Bon & Metabolic Studio In Eagle Rock Show
    Opening May 23, 2009

    The Metabolic Studio (Farmlab + Chora + AMI) will be participating in the upcoming exhibition, "Broodwork: Creative Practice and Family Life," scheduled to open at the Center for the Arts, in Eagle Rock, a northeast Los Angeles neighborhood.

    The Center's press release is cut-and-pasted below...

    MAY 23-JUNE 21, 2009

    LOS ANGELES – (April 24, 2009) Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock is pleased to present the exhibition BROODWORK: Creative Practice and Family Life, curated by Rebecca Niederlander and Iris Anna Regn. Opening on May 23rd with a reception from 3-6 pm. The idea for the exhibit came from the personal experiences of the two curators reconceiving their creative practices after becoming parents. Parenthood changes everyone; however, since artists (like Niederlander) and architects (like Regn) invent out of their own experience, the issues surrounding the complete life change of parenthood give rise to specific opportunities for rethinking and reconsidering.

    Is creativity fostered by proximity with an innocent, uninformed person? Are creative questions previously thought sufficiently answered suddenly asked anew? The curators realized that their own experiences had a much broader significance and that a creative community was producing something they named BROODWORK.

    BROODWORK cannot be classified along lines of gender, content or medium, but Niederlander and Regn discovered defining characteristics that often appear, even indirectly. Families and Work Institute in NYC reports that families today spend significantly more time with their children than even a decade ago. This aligns with shifts in methodology in the creative practice: work is made in small increments of time; projects are also conceived as an accumulation of parts; work is created collaboratively. There also exists an increased awareness of being the “responsible” generation, where ethical and environmental concerns can become a focus or ancillary to it, such as a simple shift towards safe materials. Another type of work takes on the topic of children or childhood, with the specific viewpoint of a creative person who is a parent.

    The exhibit provides some of the questions and answers that have emerged from a distinguished group of artists, architects and designers who are the parents of children aged 1-10. There will also be a series of social events that deal with the themes of the show, including readings and documentary films. BROODWORK at the Center for the Arts will be the first in a series of analogous exhibitions in different cities, and Niederlander and Regn plan to show BROODWORK as a book by 2011.

    Designers and Architects include: Hadley & Peter Arnold, Barbara Bestor, Julliette Bellocq, Kim Colin/Industrial Facility, David Fletcher, Iris Anna Regn & Tim Durfee, Linda Taalman & Alan Koch. Visual artists include: Lauren Bon and The Metabolic Studio, Jemima Brown, Rebecca Campbell, Jamison Carter, Seonna Hong, Soo Kim, Brandon Lattu, Rebecca Niederlander, Laura Owens & Edgar Bryan, Michael Pierzynski, Eli Pulsinelli & Allen Compton, Lucas Reiner, Denise Uyehara & Natalie Nguyen, Alexis Weidig, Patty Wickman, Patrick Wilson

    The exhibition is sponsored in part by Green to Grow; Laura Gabbert, director/producer of the feature documentary No Impact Man; Cristi Lyon for Pomegranate Glass; Little Flower Candy Co. Café; Plan It Green Printing; Mia Sushi; Cafe De Leche, and The Loft Hair Lounge.

    Refer to the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock or the Facebook page for exhibition information.

    Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to provide innovative and multicultural arts programming to the communities of Northeast Los Angeles. The Center is located at 2225 Colorado Blvd. in Los Angeles, and is open Monday through Saturday. For more information on Center for the Arts, including our gallery hours, schedule, and arts classes for children and adults, visit: www.centerartseaglerock.or or call 323-226-1617.

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    Farmlab Public Salon
    Frank van de Ven & Victoria Looseleaf
    Friday, April 17, 2009 @ Noon
    Free Admission

    "Corpus Criticus: Bodies on Words - Words on Bodies"

    About the Salon

    Frank van de Ven and Victoria Looseleaf present "Corpus Criticus: Bodies on Words - Words on Bodies." Considering the art of improvisation as danced by Frank van de Ven, arts journalist and critic Victoria Looseleaf opens a dialogue with both performer and audience, demystifying the genre in real time. In today's environment where criticism is losing currency, we explore the conversation between the moving body - the unspoken - and that which needs to be said.

    About the Salon Participants

    Frank van de Ven: Frank van de Ven is a dancer and director who spend his formative years in Japan working with Min Tanaka and the Maijuku Performance Company. In 1993 he founded with Katerina Bakatsaki 'Body Weather Amsterdam' as a platform for training and performance. Since 1995 he conducts with Milos Sejn (Academy of Fine Arts Prague) the interdisciplinary Bohemia Rosa Project, connecting body and landscape with art, geology and architecture.

    Interest in practice and theory led to working with other dancers and theorists in extracting concrete strategies for dance from the theories of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari evolving around the question 'How to make yourself a Dancing Body Without Organs'. Together with Peter Snow (Monash University) he performs the Thought/Action Improvisations. An ongoing collaboration exists with musician Daniel Schorno, artistic director of Steim in the 'Noughts' project. He is a regular guest teacher at the SNDO (School for New Dance Development, Amsterdam).

    Victoria Looseleaf is an award-winning arts journalist and regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, Dance Magazine, Performances Magazine and KUSC-FM radio, among other outlets. In addition, she is the producer of the long-running cable access TV show on the arts,"The Looseleaf Report" (currently airing in New York City), as well as a blog of the same name. Covering music and dance festivals around the world, Ms. Looseleaf's recent travels have taken her to Havana, Lyon, Montpellier, Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Venice, Athens and Buenos Aires. She currently teaches dance history at Cal State Los Angeles and Santa Monica College. In an earlier incarnation, Ms. Looseleaf was a professional musician who recorded two albums of solo harp music, "Harpnosis," and "Beyond Harpnosis," both registered trademarks.

    Photos courtesy Frank van de Ven (top) & Victoria Looseleaf (bottom)


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    LAT Gardens Article Inspires Response From Farmlab Visitor

    Farmlab visitor Ellen Switkes emailed the info at farmlab dot org mailbox to say that she noticed this article in the Los Angeles Times about potential public / private gardening in Santa Monica and "immediately thought of Farmlab's efforts."

    The LAT subhead: "Program would match willing homeowners with would-be gardeners, reducing the years-long waiting list for a plot of soil."

    The complete article is here.

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    Past Salon Speakers In The News

    Here's a handful of the recent stories and references to some of our past Farmlab Public Salon Series speakers. One in an occasional series of updates, and admittedly very incomplete...

  • The Junk Raft project, with quotes from Dr. Markus Erickson, in the New Yorker. Public Salon Series link is here.

  • Marqueece Harris-Dawson, in the Los Angeles Times, on efforts to shutter a South L.A. liquor store. Public Salon Series link is here.

  • Bill Patzert, in Science Daily via a NASA press release, on cyclones and Hispaniola. Public Salon Series link is here.

  • Fallen Fruit, mentioned in the Huffington Post. Public Salon Series link is here.

  • Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, noted in an art review. Public Salon Series link is here.

  • Jane Usher, noted in an LA Weekly piece about billboards in Los Angeles. Public Salon Series link is here.

    That's all we'll post for now... If eager for more, to do your own search -- here's a list of past, current, and upcoming Salons.

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    Farmlab Public Salon
    Bill Deverell
    Friday, April 10, 2009 @ Noon
    Free Admission

    Little Girl Lost: The Kathy Fiscus Tragedy and Modern California

    About the Salon

    On a bright Southern California day sixty years ago, a little girl playing in a field tumbled into an old well. Kathy Fiscus was three years old. Her tragic ordeal caught the attention of the world, as would-be rescuers worked around the clock to save her. Any number of unusual ideas were posed, tried, or discarded in the feverish hours of digging rescue shafts. Hundreds, if not thousands, of spectators came to the site, and television cameras and reporters invented live t.v. from the scene of the accident. This talk will explore the Fiscus tragedy in all its fascinating detail, as well as pose some questions and ideas about how post-World War II California saw itself and was in turn seen by the nation.

    About the Salon Presenter

    Bill Deverell is Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West: More Information

    Image courtesy Bill Deverell

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