The Boston Marathon bombing forced us this week to reconsider the name of our class project, “Seedbomb Burlington.” We decided to stay with the name for two reasons. First, all of our PR materials — press releases, social media sites, et al. — are well in motion and can’t be recalled at this point. (And even if it wasn’t too late, the obvious alternative — “Seedball Burlington” — just doesn’t sound the same.)
But secondly, we had a general consensus that seedbombs have little to do with real bombs. The only thing they share is a certain incendiary image, which comes from the term’s historical connection to the guerrilla gardening movement. That image, we decided, can be toned down, even if there was some diversity of views about its usefulness. (We were still deciding on our posters, and had good ones to choose from that were less, well, bomb-like. Above is the one being postered around town.)
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 Continue Reading →
Seedbombing, or aerial reforestation, refers to the practice of introducing vegetation to land by throwing or dropping compressed bundles of soil containing live vegetation (seed balls). Undertaken with the goal of re-naturalizing barren or ecologically underutilized land, seedbombing is an ecological practice for reviving urban environments.
Seedbomb Burlington is a place-specific project intended to provide people with skills and knowledge for remapping, reimagining, and rewilding their city through the practice of site-specific seeding with ecologically appropriate plants. It is a project of social and ecological reclamation and information dispersal, involving seeds, soil, boots, bikes, vacant landscapes, maps and smart phones, social and locative media, and time, gentle time.
As shown in Richard Maxwell’s and Toby Miller’s book Greening the Media, information and communication technologies are not ecologically benign. They leave behind plenty of residues — mountains of waste, toxic by-products that affect workers and consumers, and much else — and rearrange the materiality of the world in so many ways.
We are taking this week off from new readings. Instead the class is concentrating on critical analysis assignments and presentations.
Two of these — one on Banksy and the Critical Art Ensemble, the other on Greenpeace and the movement against the Keystone XL pipeline — were presented in class this past week. We are planning to present the remainder in next week’s class. We will also discuss how and what to share online from these analyses, and what form our final applied media projects will take.
Marshall McLuhan argued that the world was becoming a “global village.” For the theorists we are examining this week, the world has certainly become global, but it is less a village — which implies a stability and a taken-for-grantedness of “what’s what” and “who’s who” — than it is a tempest or a whirlwind. It is a world of ceaseless flux, flow, and modulation, a world of interconnected networks within which we might not know who we ourselves are, let alone who others are.