Contingency was a multi-faceted project undertaken at Testing Grounds, Melbourne. As a open ended research project it included a garden installation, mixed media works on paper and a food event with dishes I created and cooked from six species of edible weeds grown within a garden installation for a closing event.
This work contributes to my ongoing research on food sustainability, agricultural practices and biodiversity in the urban ecology. It follows a recent project The Citizens Horticultural Advice For The Right To Food Bureau where the audience was activated to make clay seed bombs to take home and sow in a public space of their choice. The aim of which was an urban network of guerilla gardeners and crops of edible weeds to be harvested and cooked for this residency. Ironically, Melbourne’s consistently hot and dry summer of 2016-17 decemated the plants and meant a new strategy to cultivate them them in the gallery space. My network of ‘almost’ urban farmers were instead invited to participate with the evolution of the labyrinth weed garden and the weed tasting event to end the residency.
Throughout the residency I utilised Testing Grounds public program and open days to engage the public with the project development, from planting seedlings to re-purposing single use plastic water bottles as well as obsolete Tupperware brand containers as self watering wick-pots. Presented as part of the installation was a collection of drawings and paintings of foraged or cultivated plants I have cooked with people around the world during previous projects, in tandem with a reading space as a conceptual backdrop to the labyrinth style weed garden. The selection of books included diverse topics from global power systems, indigenous agriculture practices, essays on environmental philosophy and biodiversity and sustainability in the face of climate change, to The Futurist Cookbook by Thomasso Marinette, a mid 20th Century CWA cookbook and a guidebook for identifying edible weeds – their place of origin and historical context.