“A library of invasive weeds and survivors” by Enrique Gili, for Deutsche Welle
Ellie Irons and Anne Percoco want you to rethink weeds. The artists run the Next Epoch Seed Library, a seed bank stocked with specimens from vacant lots, sidewalks, and superfund sites in the New York City area. The plants tend to get torn out or doused with herbicides—but they also help stabilize soil, suck up carbon, and keep cities cooler as the climate changes.
Wild city plants also help support pollinators like bees in urban areas—which is why the seed library is part of a new exhibit called Nectar: War upon the Bees at Pratt Manhattan Gallery.
“We’re trying to help validate and help people engage with these wild plants that are often called weeds," says Irons. "And to think about them as habitat, think about them as these really valuable parts of green infrastructure . . . that would also be beneficial for a whole suite of nonhumans, including bees.”
The Next Epoch Seed Library will be in residence at Wave Hill this January!
“I meet artist Anne Percoco outside a formidable-looking Jersey City high school, set among some of the busiest streets in the city. It’s an unlikely setting for the beginning of a nature walk, but finding wilderness amidst concrete and blaring car stereos is Percoco’s speciality.
She’s taking me to a favorite spot of hers — an abandoned commuter train line — to collect weed seeds for one of her current projects, the Next Epoch Seed Library. The project is a seed library for the Anthropocene: a collection of seeds that have proven their mettle by surviving in some of the harshest conditions humans can throw at them…”
Day of Action: Brooklyn Seed Freedom
Join us to align with the Global Movement for Seed Freedom on Swale, a first year floating food forest docked at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. We will gather in a day of action to share seeds, resources and practice seed saving methods to strengthen the seed network in the New York City bioregion. Featuring seeds saved from Swale, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Next Epoch Seed Library, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Old Stone House, Pioneer Works and YOU!
Bring seeds to share, and a few envelopes to harvest seeds into!
This event will launch an open-source seed library that will be based at Pioneer Works art center in Red Hook.
Swale is a collaborative floating food project built on a 130-foot by 40-foot floating platform that contains an edible forest garden. Functioning as both a sculpture and a tool, the Swale project provides free healthy food at the intersection of public art and service, reinforcing water as a commons and working towards a regenerative public food system.
Pioneer Works is a non-profit foundation in Red Hook, New York City that fosters multidisciplinary creativity in the arts and sciences.
Webpage with more details:
Chance Ecologies: Queens
A Community Partnership Exhibition Program at the Queens Museum
Curated by Catherine Grau and Nathan Kensinger
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, New York City Building
Opening reception: October 8, 2pm-4pm
Participatory workshops and public performances: October 16
Chance Ecologies Symposium: October 23
Closing Date: October 30
Milcah Bassel interviewed Ellie Irons and I for Dime and Honey, a wonderful blog about studio practice, livelihood, relationships and making meaningful contributions to culture today.
Ellie was interviewed by Ben Valentine of Hyperallergic and talked extensively about our Next Epoch Seed Library installation at William Paterson. Learn about Ellie’s work & read the whole thing here -
“Living Together” writeup on notwhatitis.com by Tracy DiTolla.
NESL “looks into preserving invasive plants, and weeds, which are most likely to continue to thrive in an environment made up of predominantly GMO plants. Viewers can take and leave seeds that are stored in a house-shaped cabinet. There is also a couch, a coffee table made of repurposed cinder blocks, various reading materials…plant specimens…and a live butterfly flying around.”
Living Together: Nurturing Nature in the Built Environment
Dana Fritz, Ellie Irons, Anne Percoco, and Tattfoo Tan
March 21 – May 13, 2016
Curated by Gallery Director Kristen Evangelista, this exhibition addresses our complex, mediated, and often fraught relationship with nature, and features plants as well as photography, drawing, and collage by Dana Fritz, Ellie Irons, Anne Percoco and Tattfoo Tan.
Opening tomorrow, 4/10, and artist talk Monday, 4/18.
Article in Untapped Cities by Jeff Reuben, featuring the Next Epoch Seed Library in Chance Ecologies.
Greetings and Happy Autumn!
I’m excited to share that Ellie Irons and I are collaborating on a new project: the Next Epoch Seed Library, which we hope will grow to an extensive, participatory archive of the seeds of weeds. Thriving where others can’t or won’t, these hardy plants are best adapted to live in the long shadow we throw on the landscape. Learn more here: nextepochseedlibrary.org
We are debuting the project this month as part of Intersecting Imaginaries, organized by No Longer Empty’s Curatorial Lab. We are building a cabinet of small drawers into the cavity of an i-beam in the raw exhibition space. We also have a special collection from the Bronx, gathered with the help of Rena Lee.
The season for harvesting seeds is here. Would you like to contribute to NESL? Let me know – I’ll send you instructions!
Address: 900 Grand Concourse, Bronx
Subway: 3 blocks from the Yankee Stadium stop on the 4 Train
Exhibition Website: http://ow.ly/UV7Vf
Viewing Hours: Wed-Fri, 2-8 pm; Sat & Sun, 12-6 pm
Dates: Nov 20 to Dec 13