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Patrick is in Sydney and visited the Food Forest with family friend Josh Bowes, who generously helped with the initial planting back in July. They found fungi, edible weeds, an abundance of leaf vegetables, thriving fruit and nut trees, and evidence of dynamic social engagement.
Gardening is not a rational act. What matters is the immersion of the hands in the earth, that ancient ceremony of which the Pope kissing the tarmac is merely a pallid vestigial remnant.
– Margaret Atwood
Today we lived our homage to Ms Atwood. We lived it in the rain. With two pairs of socks beneath our gum boots. We lived it in the rain as we intimately weeded the Food Forest floor, alongside magpies foraging for worms.
We lived it in the rain with our garden forks as we removed rocks and broken bricks and small tiles. And then we lived it with our shovels in hand as we mixed into the earth topsoil, compost and dynamic lifter, readying it for the trees that arrive tomorrow.
And then it arrived!
And got to work right away.
So we found other things to inspect.
Such as our first shipment of trees to arrive. Want to know what they are? Come back next week and we’ll show you, when we make them feel at home in the soil.
But we can show you what arrived next: 4 cubic meters of steaming fresh compost mulch and 10 cubic meters of top soil. Now that was a satisfying dump..
Before adding these arrivals to the mix, we still need to weed and remove all the debris we find, such as the buried treasure we uncovered this afternoon.
The whole idea of detention in a closed space as a form of human punitive corrective action seems to have come in very much in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries – at the time perspective and pictorial space was developing in our Western world. Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage, 1967
Waste and Time – an Artist-as-Family adventure
Newcastle Lock-up Artist-in-Residence Sept-Oct 2009.
The Artist-as-family includes Meg Ulman, Patrick Jones and Zephyr Ogden Jones. We propose a multi-tiered residency that includes gleaned waste collection, filmmaking, blogging and an exhibition about what we find while in Newcastle.
Things that may help you understand our working holiday.
1. Compostable waste – is not really waste at all as it is returned to the earth to feed new life as part of a closed-cycle system.
2. Non-compostable waste – is material that breaks down slowly, does not feed the natural world, and harms the environment as part of a broken-cycle system – aggregate-growth capitalism.
Patrick will build an installation with the waste that the AaF find in the streets. The exhibition’s theme will be based upon these lines: a reliance upon the importation of resources is our society’s zeitgeist. A centre large enough to rely upon importing resources will never be sustainable. Therefore the food has to be walking distance, and composting is the key to this future society.
As seven year-old Zephyr’s attention will come in and out of focus and be mainly concerned with play opportunities. While in Newcastle, we aim to structure the day with a good balance of work and play. We three will start the day with a two-hour drift, scouring for material, talking to people, exercising and generally being a part of the social space of the city. Then the rest of the day will be broken up with one parent concentrating on the requirements of the residency, while one parent concentrating on the requirements of Zephyr.
Zephyr is an outgoing child. He may like to speak to primary school kids who come to the Lock-Up about his experiences. Meg and Patrick will also speak to visitors to The Lock-Up, TINA festival goers and other interested parties about the work we are doing as a family in Newcastle.
Interrelations with Lock-Up staff will be essential for the success of the residency. Whereas we will aim to carry out the majority of the work to ensure a successful residency and exhibition, we will need assistance and local knowledge to make sure the wider community access and enjoy the work and skills we bring to Newcastle. And while in Newcastle ensuring we also glean skills, ideas and social warming from staff and fellow Novocastrians.