evolving ecological media culture(s)

From radical gardening to locative media


What do the two have in common?

Our class project, Seedbomb Burlington, will involve organizing and carrying out a series of events/actions taking place in the landscape of Burlington, Vermont. It will also be a media event.

The initial actions will be two workshops that will take place on and around Earth Day 2013. But these should be considered as part of a much longer process: a process of remapping, re-seeding, re-wilding, reclaiming. A reoccupation of the city by the earth.

I’ve assembled an archive of readings on various topics related to the project including radical gardening (a.k.a. guerrilla gardening), locative media and place-based ubiquitous computing (including various forms of “monitorial citizenship,” location-based media arts, et al.), and a series of case studies of projects, groups, and organizations involved at the interface of art, ecology, media/technology, and land use. Some of the latter are involved in “re-naturalization” and other forms of radical, guerrilla, or just ecologically sane forms of organic intervention into urban landscapes. Others are developing software and apps for learning, activism, or entertainment, with a locative and/or place-based focus. Still others have a more clearly politically, economically, or ecologically critical/radical agenda.

Some of these articles are shared here; others have been made available directly to students in the class (they aren’t open-access).

Links to related resources can be added in the comments below.



I. Radical Gardening

1. George McKay, Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism, and Rebellion in the Garden (Frances Lincoln, 2011). Read the Introduction, “The ‘Plot’ of Radical Gardening,” and see more parts of the book here.

2. “Cultivating Hope: The Community Gardens of New York City,” from Notes from Nowhere, We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anticapitalism (London: Verso, 2003), pp. 134-139. (PDF available on book’s web site.)

3. “Guerrilla Gardening,” from Notes From Nowhere, We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anticapitalism (London: Verso, 2003), pp. 150-1.  (See above.)

4. Peter Lamborn Wilson, “Avant Gardening,” from P. L. Wilson and Bill Weinberg, ed., Avant Gardening: Ecological Struggle in the City and the World (NYC: Autonomedia, 1999).

II. Locative media and ubiquitous computing

1. M. Crang and S. Graham, “Sentient Cities: Ambient Intelligence and the Politics of Urban Space,” Information, Communication & Society 10. 6 (2007): 789-817.

2. Drew Hemment, “Locative Arts,” Leonardo 39.4 (2006), 348-355.

3. Sha Xin Wei and Maja Kuzmanovic, “Sustainable Arenas for Weedy Sociality: Distributed Wilderness,” DIAC 2002 paper, available at www. sponge.org.

4. Michael Salmond, “The Power of Momentary Communities: Locative Media and (In)formal Protest,” Aether: Journal of Media Geography (2010) 90-100. Available here.

3c. Jillian Hamilton, “Ourplace: The Convergence of Locative Media and Online Participatory Culture,” OZCHI 2009 Proceedings.

Note: The Crang and Graham piece can be considered the key reading here. The others are among many you can find on the topic online. See also the Center for Locative Media.

III. Case studies

Center for Land Use Interpretation

1. Ralph Rugoff, “Circling the Center,” Overlook: Exploring the internal fringes of America with The Center for Land Use Interpretation (NYC: Metropolis Books, New York, 2006).

2. Ellsworth and Kruse, “Touring the Nevada Test Site: Sensational Public Pedagogy,” from Sandlin, Schultz, and Burdick, eds. Handbook of Public Pedagogy: Education and Learning Beyond Schooling (Routledge, 2010)

Web sites:

Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI)
CLUI Land Use Database
Extreme Media Studies’ issue on monitorial citizenship


Polar Inertia

See also Karen Rapp, “The Center for Land Use Interpretation’s ‘Theory of the Present'”


Lampert, “Permission to Disrupt: REPOhistory and the Tactics of Visualizing Radical Social Movements in Public Space,” from Sandlin, Schultz, and Burdick, eds., Handbook of Public Pedagogy: Education and Learning Beyond Schooling (Routledge, 2010).

And see CT4CT’s REPOhistory page and Gregory Sholette’s page.

World of Matter

1. Biemann et al., “Biemann, et al, “From supply lines to resource ecologies: World of matter” Third Text 120 (v. 27, no. 1), special issue on Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology, pp. 76-94.

And see the World of Matter web site (in progress).

Joseph Beuys, Futurefarmers, Free Soil

1. In ANTENNA Issue 17, read the articles on “Beuys’ Acorns” (starting p. 63) and “Futurefarmers (pp. 72-76).

2. Futurefarmers and Free Soil interviews, “Two Interviews,” in Max Andrews, ed., Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook (London: RSA/Arts Council, 2006).

Other projects

1. “This is the public domain” (See Amy Balkin’s article in BlackBoard for background.)

2. Furtherfield’s Media Art Ecologies program.

3. Society for a Re-Natural Environment (described in a previous post).


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