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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