Interactive public performance in collaboration with artist Zoe Porter, Prinzessinnengärten (The Princess Garden), Berlin
The title Green Man relates to the pagan mythological forrest symbol and the harvest ritual of straw costumes. From the Germanic tribes to modern times it has played a role in religion and ritual and harvest rites to being appropriated by the Nazi propaganda machine which reinterpreted Germanic mythology for nationalism.
This interactive performance stems from our respective research and collaborative practice of working in transdiciplinary ways. Both Zoe and myself are of ethnic Germanic backgrounds, prompting us to mark our historical cultural identity through plants we are familiar with in Australia as weeds that may have been part of our ancestors diets in Germany. Zoe draws the leaves and flowers of plants I have prepared as a batter to be deep-fried into green pretzel shaped snacks onto perspex walls of a hothouse. Six species of common edible weeds were used, both native and invasive species in Northern Europe that are all naturalised globally in anthropogenic soils. The ancient food plants Amaranthus, Dandelion, Purslane, Melde, Potato Weed and nettle are ubiquitous to diverse climatic zones and can be seen as symbols of co-species evolution between plants and people since seed dispersal is part of human migration and agriculture practices, by accident and by intent. Plants cooked for the event were harvested from the hanging garden project at Prinzessinnengärten, cultivated from seed foraged in urban environs for a seed bank project during a 2016 residency project at The Centre for Art and Urbanistics (ZKU), Berlin.
This event was part of a professional development mentorship under artist Åsa Sonjasdotter with a research project at Die Laube (The Arbor) working with The Neighbourhood Academy (TNA), co-founded by Sonjasdotter and historian Marco Clausen at Prinzessinnengärten urban farm – a self-sustainable urban farm located in Berlin’s Kreuzberg area. TNA is a knowledge-sharing program for experimental and creative community projects based at Prinzessinnengärten.