the 2024 video ‘orchards’ best illustrates this long-term project linking Indigenous cultivation of fruit trees with challenges to climate change / chaos

Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram 2024 “orchards”
part of a 2023-25 series, meditation4NDNs everybodywelcome
12 minutes 43 seconds (1 channel)
https://vimeo.com/926072899

the project: re-establishing native fruit trees as part of contemporary site-based & public art

2021 June 21 ripening fruit of MÁT̸ŦEN ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN], Suksdorf black hawthorn,
Crataegus suksdorfii, KEXMIN field station, Salt Spring Island P6210006

bosque section - presqueperdu Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (small)

The 2014 – 2016 studies, designs and interventions that comprise À la recherche de certaines récoltes presque perdu: Decolonising permaculture: The greatest adversity comes from forgetting are in response to Utopiana’s call for the thematic residency, La Bête et l’adversité. We explore one ‘beast’ in nature: human memory and the ways that biology, culture and our individual developments mediate what we know of landscapes and how we interact and sometimes transform public spaces. In this context, we explore divergent experiences of the postcolonial world: the Geneva region that was not colonized and has had an uneven relationship with the imperial and modernist projects and the still decolonising Salish Sea region of the South Coast of Pacific Canada and adjacent Puget Sound in the United States of America.

edible chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, fruit (‘drupe’) (2016 August 11 above Fulford Harbour just 50 metres west of the historic stone Catholic Church, Salt Spring Island photo by Alex Grunenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram)

indefinite decolonial matrix - presqueperdu - Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

Within these landscapes, we explore and imagine reinserting dwindling populations of wild and traditional tree crops, in the gene pools of

apple and pear,

plum and cherry,

raspberry and blackberry, and

blueberry and cranberry.

For other Canadians having very mixed feelings about next week’s 150th anniversary of the modern Canadian state (including its massive repressive apparatuses), perhaps we need an alternative symbol. This is the only native tree that is in every province and territory: chokecherry, Prunus virginiana. It was known in nearly every indigenous language was the first fruit after the glaciers receded, has medicinal bark (for the original cherry cough lozenge), and produced the preferred poles for teepees. (2017 May 7, Ruckle Provincial Park, Salt Spring Island photo by Alex Grunenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram)

Tree fruit in this project also becomes a focus for exploring ecological and cultural legacies and ‘gifts’ within ecosystems with renewed interest in philosophies of gratitude so central to indigenous cultures in the Western Hemisphere. The divergent indigenous cultures of these gene pools, that span both the Geneva and the Vancouver-Seattle regions across Europe, Asia, and north-western North America are reconnoitered. In this way, we critique and begin to decolonise popular and sometimes trite notions of ‘permaculture’, a set of principles and practices for diverse and more sustainable agro-ecosystems by re-centring the roles of traditional knowledge and learning from and respecting local gene pools (and associated human populations).

timeline - presqueperdu Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (small)

Initiating our investigations of forgetting, memory and remembrance as an often irascible beast within nature (and human lives), the contributions of Proust, and in particular his now waning modernist notions of the individual, landscape, and desire codified in À la recherche de certaines récoltes presque perdu comprise a key source for understanding the legacies of the colonial projects within Europe and in margins such as Pacific Canada. In understanding this broader loss of memory and ecosystem under modernism and individuals, we construct another aspect of the emerging movement of decolonial aesthetic specifically departing from and ‘rifting’ with Proustian nostalgia. A century ago, Proust’s modernist aesthetics largely obscured labour, ecology, and political economy from experiences of landscapes, agriculture, and indigenous and traditional communities. Today, contemporary aesthetics are back to more fully appreciating cultural legacies in nature as well as the crucial role of traditional knowledge and communities and material relationships more generally.

trellis - presqueperdu Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (small)

Our endgame, in À la recherche de certaines récoltes presque perdu: Decolonising permaculture: The greatest adversity comes from forgetting, is to propose and begin to demonstrate some interventions in public space that re-establish small groves of these often declining tree crops. As beneficiaries of the tree planting legacies of artists Joseph Beuys and Alan Sonfist, we argue that agriculture and horticulture embody practices central to the collaborative and community-based impulses in contemporary art. In this work, we are also strongly influenced by the relational aesthetics proposed over a decade ago, that are more concerned with social learning than production of static art objects, and more recent forms of radical materialism centred on cultural cognition of threats to the biosphere and human life support and that in turn challenge to intensifying social inequities.

2015 Oct 14 site planning Alex - Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (small)

Just as important as generating a beneficial ecological impact through nurturing traditional local gene pools, habitats and communities, we make ‘installations’ and archives with what we can find from recycled paper and ink to digital photographs, videos and text made with old computers and mobile telephones and reworked versions of software and apps. So in a time of new forms of impoverishment for artists, our approach is aggressive in the mixing of discarded and repurposed media taking inspiration from the minimalism and disregard for polish of the Arte Povera movement of Italy in the 1970s.

fruit (a month from being ripe) of crabapple trees, Malus fusca, in a grove with a very long history of harvesting and stewardship (and now vulnerable to sea level rise) at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2016 August 11 & 12 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

2015 Sept urban bosques - Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (small)

acknowledgements: support & funding

2020 August 8 chokecherry in Cowichan territory south of Mesachie Lake on southern Vancouver Island, unceded territory of Cowichan Tribes and Ts’uubaa-asatx Nation, Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group 

This recent work on the cultures of traditional indigenous tree crops on the West Coast of Canada, and the implications of these investigations for contemporary culture, is supported as part of the work of KEXMIN field station and the engagements in aesthetics, documentation and artistic production have been funded by the generous support of the Canada Canada for the Arts Inter-Arts Program through consecutive project grants. Related contracts and in-kind support for research, theorizing, and production has involved small contracts with the City of Vancouver Public Art Program, the Yukon Arts Council, the Alp Art Academy, Haute école d’art et de design Genève and a number of universities including California Berkeley and Cornell. Scores of people have supported this work through generously sharing perspectives and ideas and sometimes collaborating most notably, Alex Grünenfelder, Cleome Rowe, Jan Steinman, Uta Nagle, Dal O’Toole, Harry Burton, Jeni Mastin, Sally Ogis, Don Hann, Cate Sandilands, and Dianne Chisholm.

In transforming the drawings, photographs, and notes from recent work on land art, found, conceived, and performed, two indigenous visual arts residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity were crucial for self-reflection and expanding my digital skills. Just before the COVID-19 lockdown, Nikki Little and Meaghan Byrne, of imagineNATIVE (the Toronto-headquartered Centre for Aboriginal Media), lead the last Indigenous Visual Arts residency before the COVID lockdown, Mixed Media 101, bringing together a score of artists, interactivity designers and teachers in the winter snows of the Rockies. As well as being deeply grateful to Nikki and Meaghan (and to administrators Reneltta Arluk, Janine Windolph, Allison Yearwood, and Howard Lee), the following members of the Banff media team (having no idea that most would soon be laid off in the pandemic), were superb and compassionate teachers: Aubrey Fernandez, Jennifer Chiasson, Tyler Jordan, Rylaan Gimby, Bojan Cosic, and Court Brinsmead. Roughly a year later, I returned to a very different Banff via Zoom for the at-a-distance phase of, Akunumusǂitis: Ecological Engagement Through the Seasons. Along with the leadership of Janine and Reneltta and Tyler’s technical acumen, Lillian Rose, a Ktunaxa leader and land artist rooted at Columbia Lake, Regina-based Nakoda buffalo artist, Joely BigEagle, and Toronto-based Cree multimedia performance artist, Cheryl L’Hirondelle took us to places where participants lived, along the North American Cordillera, in profoundly new (and old) ways. I remain in awe of this team of teachers! Thanks to the Slaight Family Foundation for funding my participation in the Banff Centre residencies.

Field studies, research and writing for mid-2023 were generously funded by the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC) a provincial Crown Corporation formed by the government of British Columbia in 1990.

HÍSW̱ḴE / Huy ch q / máh-sie / Marsee
SENĆOŦEN / Hul’q’umi’num’] / Chinook / Michif
THANKS!!!


	

Organic Projects For Multiple Crises: The shifting aesthetics, publics and ethics of outdoor art works with living material and cultivation initiated by Indigenous artists

1. Fruit & Orchards as Media: Memory + crisis = cultivation = contemporary culture

contents

0. introduction: fruit in social memory + cultivation as aesthetic intervention

I.     fruit as site, orchard as landscape & memory as cultural contests

II.    memory versus forgetting: resisting erasure as aesthetics

III.   fruit trees in the world of Proust’s Twentieth Century subject

IV.   orchards that challenge colonial erasure

V.    aesthetic practices for ecological crises

VI.   transforming public space & contemporary  culture through fruit trees?

VII.  conclusions & additional questions: orchards of remembering, recovery and ecological restoration

 notes

2020 September 22 ḴÁ,EW̱ IL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN], Qwa’up-ulp [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’], Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca at T̸ESNOEṈ [SENĆOŦEN] (Beaver Point) on ĆUÁN [SENĆOŦEN] (Salt Spring Island) * P1010021

0.

introduction:

fruit in social memory + cultivation as aesthetic intervention

            “He marvelled at the terrible recreative power of his memory.”

                                                                        Marcel Proust”  1913[1]

Fruit and orchards are so central to human beings that they are recurring symbols and forms of media, as cultural transmissions, in themselves. Art has a way of triggering clusters of memories as do places and fruit. Memory, in turn, is a highly collective and ultimately subjective art in itself, part learned, part organic and inevitably fleeting. To transform the world through art that expands and proliferates over time, we can start with the creativity embodied in fruit, as an existential gift, memory, transmitted narrative, and the creative powers of memory. Celebrations of the pleasures of fruit, orchards, and cultivation becomes a kind of aesthetic[2] or cross-aesthetic in itself.

The topographies of memory from remembering to forgetting, and all of the selecting and editing in between, have been central to the experience of art. Much of art has functioned to help us remember, recalling some experiences while effectively forgetting others. Both fruit and orchards, on one hand, and the role of public art[3], and contemporary interventions increasingly outside of galleries and museums, in cultural memory has been poorly explored. Public art represents an arc between experience of landscape, food, wellbeing, and personal and cultural memory.  Our memories are both organic and biological as products of our individual development, on one hand, and the sculpted by traditions, cosmologies, and language on the other hand. Fruit, orchards and places demand both kinds of experiencing.

To grasp the renewed importance of fruit and orchards, both in and directly as, contemporary culture[4], I sketch a practical genealogy of site-based practices that use live material, especially relatively permanent installations of plants, in both public art and other cultural interventions in public memory. Reinserting living things as site-based art along with cultivation, as in the cultures of horticulture and agriculture, can in turn be reminders of certain kinds of materiality, labour relationships[5], and ecological crises disrupting atomised experiences of commodified art objects.

A strategy in this recombination of memory, cultural production, and site, embodied in this art-making project spanning North America and Europe, is revisiting, critiquing, and expanding on Proust’s modern and individualized notions of subjective experience, today’s atomized consumer, especially of places and perceptions. One gateway is À La Recherche du Temps Perdu[6] especially the first volume, the 1913 Swann’s Way[7] of the seven volumes of À la recherche du temps perdu, In Search of Lost Time.[8]  Revisiting a pivotal work of early twentieth century literature has its perils especially as the century-long influence of this and its subsequent volumes is finally waning. These risks hold some promises, for beginning to strategize on how to recast contemporary site-based art as including living material and a raft of necessary cultural cultivation practices, for at least four different reasons. Proust celebrated and codified a middle-class experience largely divorced from both manual and skilled peasant labour as well as traditional rural knowledge. Secondly, Proust’s aesthetic, of both art and landscapes, were largely based on middle-class leisure, where appreciation of fruit and orchards was fused with pleasure (in contrast to survival) again largely divorced from the concern for the work necessary to engage with a solve social problems and inequities. In other words, art and rural landscapes often functioned, in Proust’s world, as escapes and respites rather than day-to-day engagements and work of any sort. In this false dichotomy, the work involved in cultivating orchards and producing fruit, was entirely divorced from enjoyment, aesthetics, and transmittal culture. Culture’s primary function, under Proust, moved from elaborating on out-dated religious cosmology to sense-based and object-centred rewards for the emerging bourgeois and middle-class.

A third reason for why revisiting À La Recherche du Temps Perdu is promising for explorations of putting back agriculture and horticulture back into culture are increasingly important was the importance that these new aesthetic pleasures, described by Proust, played in the last half century of the French imperial project, and modern Western aesthetics more generally. Proust’s map of what was important culture and what was trivial was imperial, Eurocentric, and relied on and often fostered inequities between the metropolitan world and the rest of the world from rural France to the many colonies. Perhaps better than any other work, À La Recherche du Temps Perdu sketched the parameters of the modern individual, personality, and viewer of art, defined more by class than communal identities. With this cage around fruit and orchards, there was little space to appreciate the knowledge, owners, and imperial dispossession all of the fruits, trees, and orchards, outside of the European heartlands,  

A fourth reason to revisit À La Recherche du Temps Perdu is how such a highly influential work obscured erotic and outright sexual expression in the orchard and in the labours that produce fruit. The orchard labourer was supposedly too boorish to have sufficient agency to have the same desires as Proust.  This kind of eroticism and even a bit of gender-subversive camp[9] has contributed to even more erasures. So in arguing that the arts of soiled hands and exchange of fruit are part of contemporary cultures of the twenty-first century, it is necessary to revisit Proust’s celebrated blend of artifice, decorum, and portrayal of pleasures.

If there was ever a time when the cultivation of trees could become central to contemporary culture it is after a century of greater and swifter losses of forest and woodland than at any other time in human history. With the rapid rise in atmospheric carbon, art that fixes some of that back as living material that produces delicious food is a demonstration of hope. If there was ever a time in history when recoveries from colonialism and neo-colonial, along with traditional knowledge, can be the focus of nuanced aesthetic statements around fruit, it is now. In the long march of decolonization in many parts of the word, fruit is a fertile cultural space for new experiences of pleasure, social inequities, indigeneity and allyship. And as food reserves dwindle and the cost-of-living increases, art that engages around, makes, and shares food, transmitting popular knowledge about cultivation, touches on spirituality.

How to proceed? Memory is our guide. But then why and how do we forget? How do we remember and recover what we think that we know? How are memories are “simplified.”[10] Sometimes biological and fleeting, such as forgetting through dying, memory and its loss learned and ‘cultural’ powers. In recent decades, we have moved from two dimensional notions of both memory and more generally cognitive mapping, largely defined by visual perceptions, to a fuller appreciation of how human experience (and remember) environments (and art) through rich combinations of visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory[11] and even atmospheric kinds of information.

If we can explore memory and mapping as culture, we explore divergent experiences of the postcolonial world. And while certain faculties of memory, forgetting, and remembering may be ‘hard-wired’, European colonisation and domination has largely come and gone. But in its uneven aftermath, social memory in Europe and indigenous communities in North America, for example, can still function quite differently. Contemporary art becomes part of a strategies for both better kinds of remembering and the revival of communities and cultures recovering from centuries of genocide. But a host of pitfalls await us.

Land art has rarely been a balm for landscapes. In 1969, Max Kozloff heralds the emergence of land art and “earthworks” as “some imminent rising of human alternatives other than culture and artefact.”[12] But decades later, Lucy Lippard one of the most important of the early curators and theoreticians of large site-based works, argued that  “much land art is pseudo rural art made from a metropolitan headquarters, [is] a kind of colonization in itself.”[13] In the Americas, indigenous fruit and orchards have been appropriated (and often obliterated) for five centuries and there are no guarantees that a contemporary cultural of fruit cultivation won’t be vulnerable to misuse.

Within these landscapes, I examine and imagine reinserting dwindling populations of wild and traditional tree crops, in four, circumpolar gene pools:

apple and pear (Malus spp.);

plum and cherry (Prunus spp.);,

hazelnut (Corylus spp.), and

hawthorn (Crataegus spp.).

Tree fruit in this project also becomes a focus for exploring ecological and cultural legacies and gifts, as in unmonetized transfers, within ecosystems with renewed interest in philosophies of gratitude.

One goal in revisiting À la recherche de certaines récoltes presque perdu, is to  imagine, propose and begin to demonstrate some interventions in outdoor “social space”[14] that re-establish small groves of these often-declining tree crops. Henri Lefebvre went as for as contending that “[social] Space becomes the principal site and area of struggles and action.”[15] But even notions of aesthetic and creative interventions remain problematic as when Miwon Kwon, admitted over a decade ago, “the lack of agreement over what we mean by, and expect from, an ‘interventionary’ site specificity.”[16]

As beneficiaries of the tree planting legacies of twentieth century multi-media artists Joseph Beuys and Alan Sonfist, we argue that agriculture and horticulture embody practices central to the collaborative and community-based impulses in contemporary art. In this work, we are also strongly influenced by the relational aesthetics proposed over a decade ago[17], that are more concerned with social learning than production of static art objects, and more recent forms of radical materialism[18] centred on cultural cognition of threats to the biosphere and human life support and that in turn challenge to intensifying social inequities.

Just as important as generating a beneficial ecological impact through nurturing traditional local gene pools, habitats and communities, I explore various forms of intervention and installations along with documentation forming an archive.

So in a time of rising costs and intensifying crises leading to new forms of impoverishment and displacement, the importance of reworking discarded and repurposed objects, imagery, and user context takes inspiration from the minimalism and disregard for polish of the Arte Povera movement of Italy in the 1970s.

2020 drawing with pencil, conté and ink

I.

fruit as site, orchard as landscape &

memory as cultural contests

“A starting point, for artists or anyone else, might be simply learning to look around where you live now.” Lucy Lippard 1998[19]

A landscape study can be a work of art in itself or an early phase of statement in any single medium or artistic work. More often, fruit as site and orchard as landscape becomes a kind of multimedia form a transmission of cultural contests. So both memory and art work organizes the experience of site and orchard often in divergent ways around those contests that might be cultural but may be more about land, languages, and perceived entitlements. So working with fruit and orchards is a particularly fertile space for both multimedia and site-based artistic production.

So why are both memory and contemporary cultural expression so important in in understanding food, agriculture, indeed global change and crises? The full extent of ecosystems and landscapes are too vast to be experienced simultaneously. We stitch into cognitive maps what we know of other living things and where we live through every shifting memory combined with stealth forgetting. We experience nature through memory. In turn, we transform nature[20], including cultivating and harvesting fruit, through the influence of memory, narrative, and aesthetics. Remembering makes us feel that we are more than animals and forgetting often reminds us that we just are as much a community of beasts as our animal cousins.

Memory in iterations of global information economies is highly contentious – and often central to public policy and the details of our lives. Some memories, and cultural works on which they are based, are considered more credible and valuable than others. And two geocultural dynamics continue to play out: between the European colonial project and decolonial processes increasingly played out through aesthetics and the Eurocentric world and a world that is increasingly globalized and regulated more by trade and the flow of capital than by the nation state. Memory has power. For example, the 2014 decision in favour of the Tsilhqot’in Nation against the Province of British Columbia[21] was built on decades of relatively consistent assertion of memories of plants, animals, and places are described in terms of human survival and responsibilities for respective stewardship. Once an imperial project, ethnobotany[22] is centre on projects of protecting indigenous knowledge, including for traditional fruit and orchards, for respective communities and not for domination. And some schools of indigenous science[23] recognize the intelligence of plants that has been increasingly acknowledged more widely.[24]

Fruit trees and orchards sit in culturally (and sometimes politically) contentious “territory.”[25] Modern notions of cultural landscapes and sites, around history, authenticity, and locations for aesthetic interventions, were codified by J. B. Jackson[26] who then sketched an understanding a political economy of public space, tourism, and consumption that contributes to communal and ecological infrastructure. Today’s conceptions of cultural landscapes[27] embody “philosophical and practical matters still to be resolved” [28] extending to artistic production. In these unresolved landscapes, aesthetic interventions can be part of explorations and efforts to illuminate dynamics and processes.

Our human experience of landscapes also mixes memory, erotic desire, sexual expression and often some alienation defined by disparities related to gender, culture, and language. In Proust’s world, the material relationships that sustain communities, agricultural, labour and political economic, were subsumed, and largely obscured, in the rarefied experience of the upper middle class.  And whereas Proust[29] reflected on and famously cherished the waning signs of nineteenth French village life, his meditations on memory were read from the decidedly uglier and more violent twentieth. Modernism’s divorcing of nature[30] aesthetics from agriculture and farm labour fed into highly individualistic notions of aesthetic experience and artistic production.

2018 July 11 pear (part of the apple, Malus spp., gene pool) in the Hotel Palazzo Salis garden with the Forno Glacier in the background, Soglio, Switzerland * P7110032

II.

memory versus forgetting:

resisting erasures as aesthetics

Memory is a dimension of human experience that underlies art making and aesthetic enjoyment. There is involuntary[31] and voluntary memory spanning the senses: visual, auditory, tactile, and the smell and taste combined as the olfactory. A central experience in Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu the chaotic shifts between involuntary to voluntary memory with certain olfactory, sound, and visual triggers most notably the taste of a lime-soaked madeleine.

The opposite of forgetting is not memory. Forgetting is only one part of erasure and loss of communal and cultural memory. And remembering can also involve involuntary and conscious forgetting. Memory and erasure often congeal around visual-conceptual ‘language’[32] as simple narratives that in turn often drop contradictory experiences and facts.

Narrative becomes the contemporary battleground for memory and forgetting and erasures, empirical experience including Proust’s “power of observation”[33], and imagination. Narrative spreads from spoken and written stories to visual, audio, tactile, and olfactory representations. Culture, especially art works, can be tools for recovery of memory and similar can be devices for obfuscation leading to forgetting.  The contemporary trope of environmental forgetting, recovery, and followed by highly edited cultural memory is best illustrated in Simon Schama’s 1995, Landscape and Memory.[34]  Schama removed much of the lustre around nostalgia which in turn is often used as a substitute for critical examination for more fragmentary metrics.

Erasure is often rooted in political economy creating inequities such as around gender, language, citizenship, communal identifications, and physical capabilities.  Colonial, genocidal and racist violence have lead to some of the most problematic erasures.  Decolonial aesthetics[35] are posited as cultural sites of resistance to subsequent erasures. But indigenous cultures, only colonized for a time, have far more nuanced and rich narratives than the stories necessary to support short-term resistance to today’s unevenly enforced hierarchies, violence, and disparities.

Visual and multimedia arts complicate narratives embodying both simple memorizations and forgetting. Fruit and other edible and living elements of work complicate experiences of time and consumption.Today’s digital and site-based technologies of representation challenge and sometimes transform experience of public space where aesthetic can transform communities.

2019 April 23 hybrid volunteer apple, Malus domestica X fusca, adjacent to grove of ḴÁ,EW̱ IL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN], Qwa’up-ulp [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’], Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca at T̸ESNOEṈ [SENĆOŦEN] (Beaver Point) on ĆUÁN [SENĆOŦEN] (Salt Spring Island) * P4230092

III.

fruit trees in the world of

Proust’s Twentieth Century subject

“how paradoxical it is to seek in reality for pictures that are

stored in one’s memory” Marcel Proust 1913[36]

“No doubt they regarded aesthetic values as material objects which an unclouded vision could not fail to discern, without need to have their equivalent in experience of life stored up and slowly ripening in one’s heart.” Proust [37]

Why do we make and enjoy art works? The interest, the passion, and the pleasure are linked to that reworking of remembering and forgetting and then transforming memory. And memory (and culture) often involves fruit: its pollination, its ripening, the abundance, work, and enjoyment. Today, the architectures of Proust’s early twentieth century memory are worth exploring a part of a larger process of decolonizing the narratives of forgetting, remembrance, knowledge, landscape, community, individuality, and sexuality.

It has been over a century since the publication of the first volume of À la recherche du temps perdu: Du côté de chez Swann. The 1913 volume and the following six in the subsequent decade, comprising the entirety of À la recherche du temps perdu, effectively constructed and reproduced modern notions of “memory”[38], subjectivity, desire, landscape, and narrative. If there was one single body of text that laid the basis for both contemporary experience of subjectivity, class positioning, sexual autonomy, consumerism, and landscape aesthetics, it was À la recherche du temps perdu. Much of what we consider ‘modern’ and even ‘postmodern’ was codified by Proust.

More than any other major twentieth-century author, it was Proust who linked fruit trees, memory, and nostalgia – while divorcing it from agricultural site and labour. Not coincidentally, Proust also codified the modern subject: largely a viewer and consumer with peasant knowledge of plants and place effectively under-valued and reduced to a cultural anachronism. Proust’s writing effectively re-enforced French colonialism, extolling the primary of metropolitan culture, at a time when its empire already in decline. Today, Proustian subjectivity in aesthetic experience effectively excludes a group of vital material and collaborative practices, even entire forms of collaborative cultural production[39] particularly important to making public space more effective for a wider range of audiences and populations. And some of these site-based practices, if sufficiently valued in a post-Proustian world, could, in turn, transmit knowledge on how to better survive both as new urbanists, acknowledging and sometimes learning some of the old peasant and traditional indigenous expertise, and in coping with and sometimes restoring deteriorating environments where new kinds of creative survival are increasingly necessary.

Proust’s world in the seven volume, À la recherche du temps perdu was revolutionary and liberatory: individuals not fettered by grinding physical labour and suffocating rural communalities. His narrators articulated an individualized aesthetic experience of art and nature less about pain than pleasure and almost laying the basis for autonomous sexualities.  But there were some limitations and new constraints from today’s vantage point: the individual become largely divorced, artificially, from both community and ecosystems. Instead, Proust’s new kind of enjoyment of nature facilitated by the protagonist’s class privilege, education, and mobility.[40]  Aesthetics displaced practical labour along with engagement in agricultural and ecological relationships. In Proust’s framing of the French countryside, the local knowledge of peasants was irrelevant, effectively devoid of aesthetics, and retrogressive. Instead, romantic love and gratification replaced communal and local allegiances and then were conflated with upper middle-class or bourgeois consumerism. Social relationships become increasingly monetary. The role of highly personal memory, not managed by religion, was heightened.

Today we can see some of the constraints and redundancies embodied in the world of Swann and À la recherche du temps perdu, more generally. Swann lived in an aggressively culturally chauvinist, colonial and imperial world where control, devaluation, often the effective obliteration of the planet’s indigenous communities was the norm when not the oeuvre. Without mentioning colonial economics and cultural politics, À la recherche du temps perdu normalized and sometimes glorified the imperial project on which much of the social changes of Cambray and the new wealth of Swann’s stockbroker family were bankrolled.

The transformation of France’s agricultural landscapes and communities lead to a fetishized experience of nature often divorced from ecological and other labour and economic relationships. Thus, the waning peasant class, centred on traditional knowledge rooted in manual labour, was considered backward in comparison to the rapacious tastes of the new urban bourgeoisie. From today’s vantage point of deterioration of the biosphere, forms of globalization intensifying social inequities, and a resurgence of indigenous governments and renewed assertion of language, culture, land ownership, Swann’s relatively elite world is receding and becoming less credible. Curiously, Proust’s descriptions of fruit trees were some of the most passionate of the twentieth century.

What does the decolonising present tell us about Proust’s particular construction of subjectivity, memory and narrative so central to the modernist experience for much of a century? What linked the Western European imperial projects and the impositions on and resistance from North American colonial subjects was the negation of local knowledge and culture centred on local ecosystems and human communities[41], indeed relations with the land and food far more intimate than those celebrated by Proust. And there are a few points in Swann’s world where the world of the colonizer and the resisting colonial subject might have almost converged. For example, Proust’s waxing on asparagus suggests an appreciation of plant intelligence as “exquisite creatures who had been pleased to assume vegetable form…lyrical and course in their jesting as the fairies in Shakespeare’s Dream.” [42]  

It is difficult not to love Proust, his passions and optimism about modernizing France mixed with nostalgia. But some of the loss, the nostalgia, was subterfuge at best. Inside À la recherche du temps perdu were poorly kept secrets. Proust’s descriptions of the narrator’s romantic interludes were too fey and abstract in contrast to the copious details that he recorded from observing changing village life. So much of the social space described in À la recherche du temps perdu is to parade a fictitious heterosexuality.[43] While Proust outlined a kind of autonomous sexuality he sometimes termed “liberty,” [44]  defined by desire and romance empowered by class and a rigid masculinity, homoeroticism was effectively side-lined when not fully submerged. None of À la recherche du temps perdu challenged homophobia, heteronormativity nor masculine violence.

Proust’s fictions on the “Méséglise Way,” was often preoccupied with furtive  sex between Swann’s hedges and “that cruel side of human passion called ‘sadism’.”[45] Paradoxically, Proust’s metropolitan protagonist did express some patronizing interest in the male peasant, by where, “[I] hardly ever derived from any place in which I might happen to be, and never from our garden, that undistinguished product of the strictly conventional fantasy of the gardener whom my grandmother so despised — of their being actually part of Nature herself, and worthy to be studied and explored.” [46] In Proust’s world, there was a severe but undisclosed boundary between the “kitchen-garden”[47] than spaces for leisure and amusement.

À la recherche du temps perdu mapped the modern subject and today’s notions of subjectivity more generally. Proust modernized ideas of the traveller, the tourist and the lover. The Modernist subject became a marked departure from the experiences of French peasants rooted in their locales and often ignorant of communities beyond theirs.[48] Landscapes and ecosystems became less linked to agricultural communities.[49] In reducing landscape to aesthetics more distance was created as in Proust’s description of the Auge Valley where Normandy meets the north coast of Brittany as “regions so primitive and so entrancing.”[50] And visual aesthetics, effectively looking at pictures, became a surrogate for the excessive social intercourse of rural livelihood. Instead, “it was society as a whole, now that he was detached from, which presented itself in a series of pictures.” [51] Instead of farm labour, Proust’s social currency was “the pleasure of loving and of being loved,”[52] often transmitted through an urban lens where, “At that time he had been satisfying a sensual curiosity to know what were the pleasures of those people who lived for love alone.” [53] Even forests were recast for individualized pleasure where for example, “I could feel that the Bois was not really a wood, that it existed for a purpose alien to the life of its trees, my sense of exultation was due not only to administration of the autumn tints but to bodily desire.” [54] Peasant landscapes were far from being devoid of sexual expression but Proust’s “estranged forest”[55] was envisioned far less about human survival.

More than a half a century, Leo Bersani argued that À la recherche de certaines récoltes presque perdu  was an “essay in self analysis” [56]  less a novel and more an art work of “self-possession.” But today, the worlds of Swann and Proust are receding by the day. Much of how we view fruit, trees, orchard, and arboriculture and respective labour, with cultivation separate from artmaking, goes back to Proust’s world. But then to continue to dwell on Proust’s world would involve a kind of internalized colonization even contrary to Swann’s world.

The Proustian bargain allowed the new urban consumer to celebrate natural ecosystems and peasant landscapes while distancing from the labour especially as daily engagement. But there were some high prices. Traditional knowledge, including that of European peasants, was devalued and often erased. Cultural production was conflated with urban centres. Memory was often reduced to nostalgia which in turn was not a substitute for recoverable memory. Proust prepared the twentieth century subject for enjoyment of landscapes that they knew less about through aesthetics that rarely found space to acknowledge labour whether creative or manual or otherwise. Even the modernist rediscoveries of the sophisticated arts of the so-called ‘primitive’ and the colonised, were part of devaluing and reabsorbing the rural, the communal, traditional knowledge, non-institutional knowledge, and manual labour.

A century later, the world of the Proustian subject looks cosy at first and increasingly exclusive with further investigation. Today, Proust’s world is being dismantled especially in the face of climate crises and social movements such as urban farming. But the largest problems in Proust’s aesthetics is that it did not and today cannot transmit the kinds of perspectives, concepts, and information increasingly needed by communities to cope with multiple crises.

2020-22 pencil drawing

IV.

orchards that challenge colonial erasure

“Colonialism, at its most basic, imposes a subject-object relation of power,

defined by mastery and appropriation…” T. J. Demos 2015[57]

The counterpoint in presque perdu / nearly lost is the recovery of a huge amount of information, from on-the-ground evidence, to elder, to maps, and even to court documents on the indigenous orchards of north-western North America. Most of these orchards and any signs of them or their respective community of stewards have been obliterated.

While there was violence in Proust’s French orchards and the rise of European modernism, as part of a system that regularly brutalized both local peasants and colonial subjects, the destruction of indigenous orchards in North America, in the same period, was genocidal.[58]

 So as an indigenous artist, I am faced with a huge conceptual project to parse these two very different forms of violence and erasure. Canadian Ron Benner was one of the first artist to explore the very different, but linked, impacts of colonialism on gardens and farming.[59]

In order to begin to identify the different roles of Proust’s French orchards, in the imperial heartland, and the erasure of indigenous orchards on the colonial and neocolonial margins, it is important to parse out various forms of violence and resulting inequities and ecological damage.  Achille Mbembe argues that colonialism constitutes multiple forms of violence. There is initial intrusion where colonial projects create and impose a ‘New World’ on indigenous subjects and their territories. There is a second violence, genocidal in large part to quell resistance, where imperial authority asserts its exclusive power in terms of ethics, land, and rights; and a third violence, where control is maintained, spread, and made permanent and where erasure around land and culture is particularly strategic.[60]

The movement to recovery indigenous orchards, especially in British Columbia, go back to the mid-nineteenth century with legal challenges extending into the twentieth century. The axiom largely invented by Franz Boas that north-west coast and adjacent indigenous peoples did not engage in cultivation[61] was discredited by the end of the twentieth century.[62] Based on even draconian principles of British colonialism in what became Canada, those orchards were and remain property of particular indigenous communities and respective families. Investigating the multiple layers of the thefts and erasures around these orchards underlies presque perdu / nearly lost.

Orchard erasures have often been compounded by typical, late twentieth century interpretations of “permaculture.” [63]   What we know of from the vague and widely circulated term, permaculture, is largely derived from an early decolonial critique of agriculture by visionary Bill Mollison. But while Mollison’s perspectives continue to be grounded in the losses perpetrated during colonial Tasmania and contemporary attempts at recovery, the various permaculture movements have rarely acknowledged and allied with decolonial projects either around food production, land redistribution, and recovery aesthetics. In particular, the direct relationship between contemporary agriculture and cultural legacies in the landscape and between the multicultural present and indigenous stewards and food producers, often with efforts for continued presence on and ownership of lands, has often been neglected or obfuscated. And while art and food production are separate in European aesthetic traditions, food, repopulating[64], and aesthetic transmission through works of art are not so separate in many contemporary indigenous communities. While there is utility in decolonizing notions of permaculture, recognizing the diversity of related principles and practices developed over millennia by indigenous communities, a larger issue looms in recovering indigenous cultivation as culture.

For indigenous survivors of five hundred years of genocide, various kinds of postcolonial melancholy are inevitable especially related to loss of land, language, and culture along with state violence and impoverishment.  Manoeuvring through centuries of trauma becomes a central role for contemporary indigenous culture. Indigenous work on recovery of cultivation as cultivation has a long way to go. Indigenous melancholy is often framed in terms of suicide and violence prevention with the closest link around the movements for food sovereignty.

Proust also talked about his melancholy, one focused more on his career than his community or planet. The protagonist confessed that, “in the course of my walks along the ‘Germantes way’, and with what an intensified melancholy did I reflect on my lack of qualification for a literary career, and that I must abandon all hope of every becoming a famous author.”[65] Proust’s melancholy was rooted in a thriving imperial system. Indigenous melancholy faces the prospects of survival, and recovery, in the face the legacies of trauma and permanent losses.

A problem arises in making space for indigenous melancholy especially in contemporary arts. Fruit, trees, and orchards have had a wide range of roles within a wide array of indigenous cultures with some of these positions more religious, spiritual, and sacred than others. By postulating, with very little solid information from elders and archives, that fruit, trees, and orchards were less or more important or ‘sacred’ than other aspects of live for particular communities over-generalizations function to not “disturb settler-projected expectations”[66] and the associated art consumption and performance economies. In other words, challenging Boas’ erroneous over-generalization about the supposed lack of tree cultivation in indigenous, north-western North America, whether or not some practices were religious, disrupts notions of ‘Indianness’.[67] So recovering tree crops in contemporary indigenous visual and narrative culture challenged very constrained (and neocolonial) notions of indigenous culture and religion.[68]

2019-21 pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

V.

aesthetic practices for ecological crises

The multiple crises being experienced by most organisms on the planet, in large part but not limited to climate change, are moving fruit tree cultivation back into contemporary culture. In coming decades, many of us will need a lot more fruit (or at least as much as current consumption levels), a lot more fruit trees, a lot genetic diversity so that vegetation can survive climate change, a lot more small trees cooling cities and re-establishing woodlands on wasteland, and a lot more carbon fixing. But these are not simply arts of and for survival. Fruit also makes human pleasure. In this global calculus, there is a direct, though asymmetrical relationship between radical materialism and indigenous traditional knowledge[69] and stewardship[70].

The relational aesthetics theorizing, that emerged a quarter of a century back, could have found connections to decolonial aesthetic but there have been few serious attempts outside of small circles of indigenous intellectuals. Nicholas  Bourriaud envisioned art that facilitated “learning to inhabit the world in a better way.” [71] Conceptualizing relational aesthetics in 1998, Bourriaud developed and advanced a new framework for experiencing and making contemporary visual works as “art taking as its theoretical horizon, the realm of human interactions and its social context, rather than the assertion of an independent and private symbolic space.” [72]

The emergence of relational aesthetics was concurrent with the growing dilemmas embodied in the ‘information economy’ and so-called “cognitive capitalism” as a system of “immaterial production.” [73]  For a short time, the currency of many adherents was “direct engagement with specific social constituencies”[74].

In 2004, Claire Bishop argued that, “relational art privileges intersubjective relations over detached opticality”[75] and “relational art works seek to establish intersubjective encounters (be these literal or potential) in which meaning is elaborated collectively.”[76] Here, relational aesthetics undermines the Western preoccupation with individual experience and production sometimes recognizing a wider range of  participatory[77] and collaborative practices[78] often seen in some indigenous culture. Bishop then argued that, “Rather than a discrete, portable, autonomous work of art that transcends its context, relational art is entirely beholden to the contingencies of its environment and audience”[79] and that, “relational art is seen as a direct response to the shift from a goods to a service-based economy.”[80]

Nearly three decades on, relational aesthetics have been increasingly scrutinized[81] with far less of its promises, especially for indigenous practices, having born fruit. But while both Nicolas Bourriaud and Claire Bishop were focused on the shift from late modernity to a vaguer contemporaneity, the presque perdu / nearly lost projectis about planting the seeds for an indefinite decolonial future that connects the better traces of worlds before the European empires to those well after. Central to decolonial projects has been the challenging of what Slavoj Žižek termed, “the systematic unlearning”[82] of historical and cultural details that undermine the hegemony of neocolonial nationalism and neoliberalism. In 2012, Claire Bishop argued optimistically that, “Instead of supplying the market with commodities, participatory art is perceived to channel art’s symbolic capital towards constructive social change. Given these avowed politics, and the commitment that mobilises this work, it is tempting to suggest that this art arguably forms what avant- garde we have today: artists devising social situations as a dematerialised, anti- market, politically engaged project to carry on the avant- garde call to make art a more vital part of life. But the urgency of this social task has led to a situation in which socially collaborative practices are all perceived to be equally important artistic gestures of resistance: there can be no failed, unsuccessful, unresolved, or boring works of participatory art, because all are equally essential to the task of repairing the social bond.”

Back in 2006, theorist Claire Bishop explored three promises of relational aesthetics that today have barely born fruit. Relational aesthetics shifted the goal in artistic production from making precious objects[83] to collaborative experiences as “non-object-based practice.”[84] Secondly, she goes on to suggest that engagement in relational aesthetics practices follows an inferred promise of community-building where, “This expanded field of relational practices currently goes by a variety of names: socially engaged art, experimental communities, dialogic art, littoral art, participatory, interventionist, research-based, or collaborative art. These practices are less interested in a relational aesthetics than in the creative rewards of collaborative activity — whether in the form of working with pre-existing communities or establishing one’s own interdisciplinary network.”[85] A third promise, perhaps the less credible even at the time, is that, “This mixed panorama of socially collaborative work arguably forms what avant-garde we have today: artists using social situations to produced dematerialized, antimarket, politically engaged projects that carry on the modernist call to blur art and life.” [86] But a quarter of a century into the twenty-first century, the precious object is still the major goal of art-making.

Today, relational aesthetics can be appropriated by indigenous artists and theorists to validate a raft of traditional and multimedia practices relevant to the logic of native communities more than that of the global art economy. Today, the global art economy, on which many indigenous artists depend, has been only slightly diversified by relational aesthetics. There has been a shift in production goals from discreet objects to environments but this change may be largely derived from global crises rather than indigenous resurgence. Sometime into the second decade of the twenty-first century, the interest in relational aesthetics morphed into concerns for the biosphere at a range of scales. Collaborative practices became less intimate and often somewhat distressed. For example, a recuperative, “vibrant materialism” has been popularized by Jane Bennett. [87]

2019-21 pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

VI.

transforming public space &

contemporary culture through fruit trees?

Sometimes cultivation of native and traditional fruit trees can transform public space. Put it simply, fruit trees can disrupt the social contests already over strategic sites – for a range of human and non-human needs and possibilities. In this way, particular configurations of fruit cultivation, production, and distribution are nest in “cultural landscapes,”[88]  with specific layers of history that are at once biophysical and ecological and just as much as political economic and aesthetic.

These fruit cultivation landscapes and respective sites hold signs that invoke re-enforce certain memories, symbols, and power relationships.[89] To understand these places we use learned perspectives and inhibitory practices where “there are many other philosophical and practical matters still to be resolved.” [90] In this way, a broad and indefinite set of aesthetic interventions, often involving short events and performances[91], can disrupt and re-create the way we experience these places and this art  – as well as capture carbon, provide nectar for pollinators, and food for an array of species.

Much of contemporary art, and certainly works that are site-based, are intended to function to disorient and to construct radical, new maps, such as seen in the 2008 touring exhibition, Radical Geography. [92] This movement to reconsider place, plants, and fellow creatures, the various kinds of speculative realism and radical materialism can re-centre human experience within the biosphere where “bounded entities are in fact complex phenomena that extend across time and space.”[93] In other words, aesthetics, art and art-making are inherently part of ecosystems and as Ashley Dawson argues, “[a]esthetic representation has a crucial role to play in making what Rob Nixon calls the slow violence of the Anthropocene visible.” [94]

Some practices can confront that “slow violence”[95] as “new aesthetic engagements with the often-invisible commodity flows that typify our moment of globalization.” [96]

A problem emerges in the unspoken rules around the function of particular works of public art which often require not challenging the particular forms of local propriety.  Art in public spaces can just as easily contribute to gentrification and displacements of residents[97] as challenge local inequities. In both cases, the art work symbolically redistributes resources, including knowledge and aesthetics, but the political economic and cultural transactions, including those involving the artist, can be quite different depending on the site, political economy, and artist practices.

Much of modern site planning[98] has been part of loose social agendas for the kinds of urbanisation that minimizes local ecosystems. Instead, there is a focus on economic expansion and sometimes for greater equity. Today, site planning and urban design is taking place at a time of heightening class disparities,[99] and re-establishing natural processes in often relatively dense, human communities[100] in an era of global ecological deterioration. An early form of ecological determinism[101], influence by Scottish town planner Patrick Geddes, laid the basis for moderns notions of ‘design with nature’[102] and the professionalization that followed.[103]  Over the last half century, the descriptors of and goals for diverse social uses of public space have become increasingly specific. [104] Earlier movements for social equity in public space are being reconsidered critically as with the recent revisiting of Lawrence Halprin.[105] And a combined vision of social AND ecological infrastructure[106] is increasingly accepted and increasingly recognizes cultural infrastructure within an information economy. Fruit tree cultivation in public space can work to consolidate and even simplify some of these human needs.

Free fruit, and orchard spaces slightly outside of the market economy, blend social movements, ecological design, and public art with just one recent example being the Seattle Food Forest.[107] Creative production, art-making, is labour with shifting valorisation.[108] Interventions in public space are largely unpaid unless as employed by the state and capital to effectively raise the commodity values of adjacent private space.

2021 June 25 MÁT̸ŦEN IL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN], Metth’unulhp [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’], Suksdorf black hawthorn, Crataegus suksdorfii @ (and prefiguring) KEXMIN field station * P6250005

VII.

conclusions & additional questions:

orchards of remembering, recovery and

ecological restoration

A century after Proust celebration of the modern subject,  memory of fruit, trees, and orchard is functioning less for pleasurable forms of nostalgia and more as part of projects for re-learning ways to cultivate new forms of creative survival.  presque perdu / nearly lostis part of the emerging genre of resource imaginaries re-imagined as emerging “postcolonial ecologies.”[109]   Such interventions in public space could transmit a wide range of ideas, aesthetics and techniques in a period of  ‘de-skilling’ of agricultural and management practices.

Miwon Kwon argued that, “A culturally fortified subject, rendered whole and unalienated through an encounter or involvement with an art work, is imagined to be a politically empowered social subject with opportunity (afforded by the art project) and capacity (understood as innate) for artistic self-representation (= political self-determination). It is, I would argue, the production of such “empowered” subjects, a reversal of the aesthetically politicized subjects of the traditional avant-garde, that is the underlying goal of much community-based, site-specific public art today.”[110] But within decolonial processes, with depressed human populations deprived of autonomy for centuries, this notion of empowered artists and audience is doubtful without strategies to re-appropriate spaces, resources, economic opportunities, and cultural venues. In this sense, fruit tree cultivation in public space is a form of symbolic and demonstrative appropriation.

Such an approach in making community orchards as art in order to make public space more accessible and serve more community needs contrasts with the the land art of a half a century ago and with much of contemporary public art. There was very little cultivation or any sort of nurturing of non-human life in the early land art in the 1970s. Land art effectively erased the continued presence of indigenous cultures and First Nation landowners.[111] While there was considerable thought about both landscape and biosphere, in the early work of figures such as Michael Heizer, Dennis Oppenheim and Alan Sonfist, much of those interventions disturbed vegetation and habitat with forms of violence deeply part of the works and their intents. There was only a hint of planetary responsibility in the short-lived waves of land art and Arte Povera. [112]  But this work prefigured art that responsed to the strong possibilities of ecological impoverishment as the Anthropocene progresses.

Cultivation of native and traditional fruit trees, in multimedia installations, provide new opportunities for cultural recovery and ecological restoration linked to creating more nuanced conversations on indigeneity, language, site, community, and communal survival. While fruit tree cultivation practices can be reconfigured to make aesthetic statements and sometimes even be works of multimedia art, the engagements, production, and actual works remain poorly examined. A raft of questions emerge. Is there really an aesthetic movement that includes cultivation? Must these practices be considered part of multimedia, often dominated by digital technologies, or another medium? How can outdoor works that include cultivation contribute to recovering culture and stewardship practices? I will investigate some important sites, political economies, and formations of cultivation practices in a subsequent essay.

2021 – 22 pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

notes


[1] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). New York: Random House. page 529. 

[2] ‘Aesthetic’ here is conceived more broadly as was sketched by Claire Bishop in 2012 as in, “aesthetic in the sense of aisthesis: an autonomous regime of experience that is not reducible to logic, reason or morality.” (Bishop, Claire. 2012. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. New York: Verso. See page 18. http://jaumeferrete.net/text/Bishop-Claire-Artificial-Hells-Participatory-Art-and-Politics-Spectatorship.pdf).  She went on to argue that, “[O]ne of the biggest problems in the discussion around socially engaged art is its disavowed relationship to the aesthetic.” (Bishop. 2012. Artificial Hells. See page 26 along with her entire discussion on pages page 26 through 30 often focused on Jacques Rancière’s 2004 essays in his Malaise dans l’esthétique.)

[3] Miwon Kwon noted “[t]hree distinct paradigms” of modern public art in the United States: “art-in-public-places”; “art-as-public-spaces”; and ” art-in-the-public-interest” (Kwon, Miwon. 2002. One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge UK: The MIT Press. See page 60.)

[4] “Culture was itself a series of forms which had a definite class character. The proletariat had to struggle for its own form of culture, which Bogdanov saw as an extension of the commons of collaborative and experimental practice embodied in industrial labor at its most sophisticate.” (McKenzie Wark. 2015. Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene. London: Verso. See page 38.)

[5] A more extreme position than the one on labour taken in this essay is explored by McKenzie Wark when then they not that, “In Platonov’s version, rather than artist bringing the aesthetic to labour, he has workers bringing their labours to the point of becoming art.” (McKenzie Wark. 2015. Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene. See page 81.) In that position, the aesthetics of fruit arboriculture and harvest derives from the labour itself. Whereas, I look for the inherent culture in the labour that influences practices as much as the necessity for production of fruit.

[6] Proust, Marcel. 1913 – 1927 (2002). In Search of Lost Time (7 volumes) (General Editor: Christopher Prendergast), translated by Lydia Davis, Mark Treharne, James Grieve, John Sturrock, Carol Clark, Peter Collier & Ian Patterson. London: Allen Lane.

[7] The most recent of the many English language translations of the first volume of Swann’s Way: In Search of Lost Time  is, Proust, Marcel. 2013 Swann’s Way: In Search of Lost Time Volume 1. (Translated and annotated by William C. Carter. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013).

[8] Proust, Marcel. 1913 – 1927 (2002). In Search of Lost Time (7 volumes) (General Editor: Christopher Prendergast), translated by Lydia Davis, Mark Treharne, James Grieve, John Sturrock, Carol Clark, Peter Collier & Ian Patterson. London: Allen Lane.

[9] “5. Camp taste has an affinity for certain arts rather than others…Camp art is often decorative art, emphasizing texture, sensuous surface, and style at the expense of content…

7. All Camp objects, and persons, contain a large element of artifice. Nothing in nature can be campy . . . Rural Camp is still man-made, and most campy objects are urban.”

(Susan Sontag. 1964. Notes On “Camp.” Partisan Review (Fall 1964): 515 – 530. See page 517.)

[10] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See page 558.

[11] Groh, Jennifer M. 2014. Making Space: How the Brain Knows Where Things Are. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

[12] Max Kozloff. 1969. “Art,” The Nation 208(11) (17 March 1969): 347.

[13] Lippard’s argument is articulated in both of these publications: Lippard, Lucy. 2014. Undermining: A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics and Art in the Changing West. New York: New Press & Wallace, Ian. 2014. Critic Lucy Lippard on Trading Conceptual Art for Environmental Activism. Artspace (May 1, 2014). http://www.artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/lucy_lippard_interview

[14] Lefebvre, Henri. 1981 (1988). La Production de l’Espace.  (Rob Shields translation 1988). Paris:  Editions Anthropos. [The Shields translation is on-line at http://www.ualberta.ca/~rshields/f/prodspac.htm with the page numbers cited for the French language passages from the 1981 edition. See page 223 – 224.]

[15] Lefebvre, Henri. 1981 (1988). La Production de l’Espace.  (Rob Shields translation 1988). [The Shields translation is on-line at http://www.ualberta.ca/~rshields/f/prodspac.htm with the page numbers cited for the French language passages from the 1981 edition. See page 471 – 472.]

[16]  Kwon, Miwon. 2002. One Place after Another. See page 99.

[17]  Bourriaud first outlined relational aesthetics in his discussion of the same name (Nicolas Bourriaud. 2002. Relational Aesthetics. Paris: Presses du reel. ) plus two other essays from the same year (Nicolas Bourriaud. 2002. Postproduction: Culture as Screenplay: How Art Reprograms the World. Translated by Jeanine Herman. New York: Lukas & Sternberg. &  Nicolas Bourriaud. 2002. Touch: Relational Art from the 1990s to Now. San Francisco: San Francisco Art Institute.).

[18] “The problem with [most 19th and 20th Century schools of] materialism is that it tends towards purely abstract accounts of nature. It makes matter primary being, but as a thing apart.” (McKenzie Wark. 2015. Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene. See page 17.)

[19] Lucy R. Lippard. 1998. The Lure of the Local. See page 25.

[20] “[C]ollective labour transforms nature at the level of the totality[.]” (McKenzie Wark. 2015. Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene. See page 12.)

[21] Supreme Court of Canada. 2014. Decision: Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia. [Date: 2014-06-26 / Neutral citation 2014 SCC 44 / Report [2014] 2 SCR 256 Case number 34986]. Ottawa: Supreme Court of Canada. https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/14246/index.do

[22] Ethnobotany as a discipline was largely rooted in colonial and capitalist projects to extract traditional knowledge at the expense of local indigenous communities. Carl Sauer often wrote about people and plants but largely outside of the cannon of anthropology. See Sauer, Carl Ortwin. 1963. Land and Life: A Selection from the Writings of Carl Ortwin Sauer. John Leighly (editor). Berkeley, California: University of California Press. More recently, ethnobotany as a field has been partially decolonised, and re-focused on the recovery of traditional knowledge by local communities. Some recent monographs that embody this decolonial shift, still in early stages, are the following:  Martin, Gary J.  1995. Ethnobotany: A Methods Manual. London: Chapman and Hall; Nazarea, Virginia D. (ed). 1999. Ethnoecology: Situated Knowledge / Located Lives. Tuscon, Arizona: University of Arizona Press; and Anderson, E. N., Deborah Pearsall, Eugene Hunn and Nancy Turner. (editors). 2011. Ethnobiology. Hoboken New Jersey: Wiley – Blackwell.

[23] “A science is that which comprehends the whole of a given domain of collective experience as fully as is possible within the social and technical apparatus of its time.  The scientific point of view is that which corresponds to the highest level of development of an era. There are no universal or eternal forms.” (McKenzie Wark. 2015. Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene. See page 15.)

[24] Two of the recent wave of monographs on how plant intelligence continues to influence human evolution and culture are, Kennedy, David O. 2014. Plants and the Human Brain. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press & Mancuso, Stefano and Alessandra Viola. 2015. Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence. Washington DC: Island Press.

[25] For two examples see Mark Dorrian and Gillian Rose (editors). 2003. Deterritorializations (London: Black Dog Publishing) and Alessandra Ponte’s 2014 “The Map and the Territory” essay in The House of Light and Entropy (London: Architectural Association). See pages 169 to 221.

[26] Jackson, John Brinckerhoff. 1980. Necessity of Ruins. Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press. and Jackson, John Brinckerhoff. 1984. Discovering the Vernacular Landscape. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.

[27] Two influential overviews that give clues to how to begin to relate contemporary art interventions to broader processes in cultural landscapes are the following:  Pierce Lewis. 1979. Axioms for Reading the Landscape: Some Guides to the American Scene. in The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes: Geographical Essays. Donald W. Meinig (editor). London: Oxford University Press. pages 11 to 32 & Robertson, I & Richards P. 2003. Studying Cultural Landscapes. Robertson I & Richards P, (eds.). London: Arnold.  Lewis created a space for public art under his, “THE AXIOM OF LANDSCAPE OBSCURITY,” where the aesthetic intervention and work become part of a shifting system of messages.

[28] Jacques, David. 1995. The Rise of Cultural Landscapes. International Journal of Heritage Studies 1-2: 91 – 101.

[29] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.).

[30] “Call it ‘nature’, but it is a nature that can only be known through particular organizational forms and processes.” (McKenzie Wark. 2015. Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene. See page 47.)

[31] Wikipedia. 2015. Involuntary memory. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Involuntary_memory

[32] Spirn, Anne Whiston. 2000. The Language of Landscape. New Haven, Connecticut:  Yale University Press.

[33] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See pages 201.

[34] Schama, Simon. 1995. Landscape and Memory. London: Harper Collins & Gussow, Mel. 1995. Into Arcadia With Simon Schama. New York Times (June 5, 1995).

[35] Lockward, Alanna, Rolando Vázquez, Teresa María Díaz Nerio, Marina Grzinic, Michelle Eistrup, Tanja Ostojic, Dalida María Benfield, Raúl Moarquech Ferrera Balanquet, Pedro Lasch, Nelson Maldonado Torres, Ovidiu Tichindeleanu, Miguel Rojas Sotelo, and Walter Mignolo. 2011. Decolonial Aesthetics (I) Sunday, May 22nd, 2011. TDI + Transnational Institute. https://transnationaldecolonialinstitute.wordpress.com/decolonial-aesthetics/

Mignolo, Walter and Rolando Vázquez. 2013. Decolonial AestheSis: Colonial Wounds/Decolonial Healings. Social Text: Periscope (July 15th, 2013). http://socialtextjournal.org/periscope_article/decolonial-aesthesis-colonial-woundsdecolonial-healings/#sthash.rNSW6zUP.pdf

[36] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See page 611.

[37] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See page 210.

[38] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See page 505.

[39] McKenzie Wark. 2015. Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene. London: Verso. See page 38.

[40] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See pages 221 – 23.

[41] McKenzie Wark. 2015. Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene. London: Verso. See pages 50 and 51.

[42] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See page 171.  

[43] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See pages 224 – 28.

[44] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See page 225.

[45] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See page 222.

[46] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See pages 120.

[47] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See pages 191.

[48] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See page 187.

[49] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.).. See pages 120 and 121.

[50] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See pages 186.

[51] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See pages 465.

[52] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See pages 569.

[53] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See pages 497.

[54] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See pages 605 – 606.

[55] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See pages 611.

[56] Leo Bersani. 2013 (1965). Marcel Proust: The Fictions of Life and Art. New York: Oxford University Press. See page 104.

[57] Demos, T. J. 2015. Decolonizing Nature: Making the World Matter. Social Text Periscope (2015 March 8 Radical Materialism issue). http://socialtextjournal.org/periscope_article/decolonizing-nature-making-the-world-matter/

[58] Celebrate Cree painter, Kent Monkman noted that, “If you look at the timelines of the rise of that period, the rise of Modern art really runs concurrent with the most devastating period for First Nations people. There was the reserve system, going back to the 1870s, and then residential school system. I like to make the comparison of European Modernism being very liberating for Europeans, while at the same time, being the recipient of it as an indigenous person, it was far from it.”

Murray Whyte. 2015. Kent Monkman: Over the cliff, into the truth. Toronto Star (October 14, 2015).

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/visualarts/2015/10/14/over-the-cliff-into-the-truth.html

[59] Benner, Ron. 2008. Gardens of a Colonial Present / Jardins d’un Present Colonial. London, Ontario: London Museum.

[60] Mbembe, Achille. 2001 On the Postcolony. Berkeley: University of California Press.

[61] Deur and Turner argued that, “’Cultivation’ Becomes a contentious term with a huge amount of Eurocentric Baggage” and “The story of these cultivation practices and how they came to be overlooked by the people of Europe is an enlightening one…” (Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner. 2005. in Introduction: Reconstructing indigenous resource management, Reconstructing the history of an idea. Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America. Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner (eds). Vancouver: UBC Press / Seattle: University of Seattle Press. pages 3 – 34. See page 3 and 8.)

[62] Deur, Douglas. 2002. Rethinking precolonial plant cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America. Professional Geographer 54: 140 – 157 & Deur, Douglas. 2005. Tending the garden, making the soil: Northwest Coast estuarine gardens as engineered environments. In Keeping It Living. 296 – 330. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

[63] The most important documents that outline Mollison’s critique are in two of his earliest publications: Mollison, Bill. 1979. Permaculture Two: Practical Design for Town and Country in Permanent Agriculture. Stanley, Tasmania: Tagari Publications & Mollison, Bill. 1988. Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual. Stanley, Tasmania: Tagari Publications.

[64] Ingram, Gordon Brent. 2013. Repopulating contentious territory: Recent strategies for indigenous North-west Coast site-based & public art. FUSE (Toronto) 36(4): 7 – 8.

[65] Proust, Marcel. 2002. Swann’s Way. (Lydia Davis trans.). New York: Penguin. See page 182.

[66]  Garneau, David. 2015. Indigenous Criticism: On Not Walking With Our Sisters. Border Crossings 34(2) (#134): 78 – 82.  http://bordercrossingsmag.com/article/indigenous-criticism  See page 78.

[67]  Garneau, David. 2015. Indigenous Criticism: On Not Walking With Our Sisters. Border Crossings 34(2) (#134): 78 – 82.  http://bordercrossingsmag.com/article/indigenous-criticism  See page 79.

[68] Metis artist and critic David Garneau quoted and paraphrased Richard Hill arguing that,”The ‘signs of Indianness often in the form of Indian spirituality and ceremony that are circulating widely and publicly in all of our communities… are ‘often less a recovery than an invention…What has been passing for signs of Indianness from  some time now…is really…New Age bullshit that was created since the 1970s. It’s our bad luck that our cultural revival coincided with neo-Rousseauian, hippy Romanticism’. Many Aboriginal people ‘attempt to confirm the authenticity of our identify through forms that are at best a pre-critical Pan-Indian melange, or simple invention’.” (Garneau, David. 2015. Indigenous Criticism: On Not Walking With Our Sisters. Border Crossings 34(2) (#134): 78 – 82.  http://bordercrossingsmag.com/article/indigenous-criticism  See page 80.)

[69] Berkes, Fikret. 2012. Sacred Ecology: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Resource Management. 3rd Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Taylor and Francis & Berkes, Fikret, Johan Colding, and Carl Folke eds. 2003. Navigating Social-Ecological Systems: Building Resilience for Complexity and Change. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.

[70] Berkes, Fikret, Johan Colding, and Carl Folke. 2000. Rediscovery of traditional ecological knowledge as adaptive management. Ecological Applications 10: 1251 – 162.

[71] Bourriaud, Nicholas. 2002 (1998). Relational Aesthetics. Simon Pleasance and Fonza Woods translators. Dijon, France: Les Presses du Réel. See page 13.

[72] Bourriaud, Nicholas. 2002 (1998). Relational Aesthetics. See page 14.

[73] Slavoj Žižek. 2014. Trouble in Paradise: From the End of History to the End of Capitalism. New York: Penguin. See pages 124 to 127 .

[74] Bishop, Claire. 2006. The Social Turn: Collaboration and its discontents. Artforum (February 2006): 178 – 183. See page 178.

[75]  Bishop, Claire. 2004. Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics. October 110 (2004): 51 – 80. See page 61. http://www.teamgal.com/production/1701/SS04October.pdf  (in discussing Nicholas Bourriaud. 2002. Relational Aesthetics. Dijon, France: Les Presses du Réel.)

[76] ibid. See page 54.

[77] Claire Bishop traced the roots of modern “participatory art” back to “Italian Futurism’s break with conventional modes of spectatorship, its inauguration of performance as an artistic mode, addressing a mass audience for art, and its use of provocational gestures (both onstage and in the streets) to increasingly overt political ends.”[77] (Bishop, Claire. 2012. Artificial Hells. See page 41 and her complete discussion of Italian Futurism and its links to the emerging fascism in those times are explored on pages 42 to 49.)

[78] Bishop, Claire. 2012. Artificial Hells. See page 11. “Participatory projects in the social field therefore seem to operate with a twofold gesture of opposition and amelioration. They work against dominant

market imperatives by diffusing single authorship into collaborative activities…”  See page 12.

[79] Bishop, Claire. 2004. Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics. See page 54.

[80] ibid.

[81] Andrew Russeth. 2011. The Fall of Relational Aesthetics. The Observer (London): 09/15/11 1. http://observer.com/2011/09/the-fall-of-relational-aesthetics/

[82] Slavoj Žižek. 2014. Trouble in Paradise: From the End of History to the End of Capitalism. New York: Penguin. See pages 70 and 71.

[83] Cole, Andrew. 2015. Those Obscure Objects of Desire: The Uses And Abuses of Object-Oriented Ontology And Speculative Realism. Artforum (Summer 2015): 318 – 323.  See page 321. https://artforum.com/inprint/issue=201506&id=52280

[84] Bishop, Claire. 2006. The Social Turn: Collaboration and its discontents. Artforum (February 2006): 178 – 183. See page 180.

[85] ibid. See page 179.

[86] ibid.

[87] Bennett, Jane. 2010. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Duke University Press and Bennet, Jane. 2011. “Artistry and Agency in a World of Vibrant Matter” September 27, 2011 lecture hosted by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, New School, New York City. https://youtu.be/q607Ni23QjA .

[88] Jacques, David. 1995. The Rise of Cultural Landscapes. International Journal of Heritage Studies 1-2: 91 – 101.

[89] Mitchell, W. J. T. 1994 (2002). Landscape and Power. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

[90] Jacques, David. 1995. The Rise of Cultural Landscapes.

[91] Rather than creative static sculptures, fruit tree cultivation in public space is part of “new representational and performative practices to reveal the social significance of hidden, or normalized, features inscribed in the land.” (Scott, Emily Eliza and Kirsten Swensen. 2015. Introduction: Contemporary art and the politics of land use. in Critical Landscapes: Art, Space, Politics. Emily Eliza Scott & Kirsten Swenson (eds). Berkeley: University of California Press. 1 – 15. See page 1.)

[92] Nato Thompson. 2015. Experimental Geography: Radical Approaches to Landscape, Cartography, and Urbanism. New York: Independent Curators International / Melville House. (catalogue of Experimental Geography exhibit (artists Francis Alÿs, AREA Chicago, The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), e-Xplo, Ilana Halperin, kanarinka (Catherine D’Ignazio), Julia Meltzer, David Thorne, Multiplicity, Trevor Paglen, Raqs Media Collective, Ellen Rothenberg, Spurse, Deborah Stratman, Daniel Tucker, Alex Villar, Yin Xiuzhen, Lize Mogel) (Nato Thompson, curator) a touring exhibit that opened in Richard E. Peeler Art Center, DePauw University Greencastle, Indiana September 19, 2008 – December 2, 2008.

[93] Dawson, Ashley. 2015. Radical Materialism Introduction. Social Text Periscope (2015 March 8 Radical Materialism issue). http://socialtextjournal.org/periscope_article/radical-materialism-introduction/

[94] ibid.

[95] Nixon, Rob. 2011. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

[96] Dawson, Ashley. 2015. Radical Materialism Introduction.

[97] Zukin, Sharon. 2010. The Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places. New York: Oxford University Press.

[98] Lynch, Kevin and Gary Hack. 1984. Site Planning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

[99] Whyte, William H. 1980. The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. New York: Project for Public Spaces.

[100] Spirn, Anne W.  1985. The Granite Garden: Urban Nature And Human Design. New York: Basic Books.

[101] McHarg, Ian L. 1966. Ecological Determinism. in Future Environments of North America. F. Fraser Darling and John P. Milton (eds). Garden City, New York: The Natural History Press. 526 – 538.

[102] McHarg, Ian L. 1969 (1971). Design With Nature. Garden City, New York: Doubleday / The Natural History Press.

[103] Thompson, George F. and Frederick R. Steiner (eds.). 1997. Ecological Design and Planning. New York: Wiley.

[104] The single most influential work on equity in urban space was, William Whyte’s 1980 The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (New York: Project for Public Spaces). Today, the work of Jan Gehl, centred more in European pedestrian-oriented city centres is highly influential (See Gehl, Jan. 1987. Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space. translated by Jo Koch. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold & Gehl, J. and Svarre, B. 2013. How to Study Public Life. Washington, DC: Island Press.)

[105] Hirsch, Alison . 2014. City Choreographer: Lawrence Halprin in Urban Renewal America. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

[106] One example of the loosely unified ‘infrastructure’ is suggested in Benedict, Mark A.  and Edward T. McMahon 2006. Green Infrastructure: Linking Landscapes and Communities. Washington DC: Island Press. A more nuanced set of debates is embodied in Reed, Chris and Nina-Marie Lister (eds.) 2014. Projective Ecologies. Cambridge, Massachusetts: ACTAR, Harvard Graduate School of Design.

[107] Thompson, Claire. 2012. Into the woods: Seattle plants a public food forest. Grist. http://grist.org/urban-agriculture/into-the-woods-seattle-plants-a-public-food-forest/  & Stone, Dan. 2013. Seattle’s Free Food Experiment. National Geographic Magazine (April 29, 2013).  http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/29/seattles-free-food-experiment/

[108] Viegener, Matias. 2015. Speculative Futures: Social practice, cognitive capitalism and / or the triumph of capital. in Informal Market Worlds: The Architecture of Economic Pressure. Peter Mörtenböeck and Helge Mooshammer (eds.). Rotterdam: nai010.

http://mviegener.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Viegener-Matias-Speculative-Futures-Social-Practice-Cognitive-Capitalism-andor-the-Triumph-of-Capital.pdf

[109] Buck, Morgan. 2015. Radical Materialism – The Space-Time of Environmental Imperalism. Social Text Periscope (March 8th, 2015) http://socialtextjournal.org/periscope_article/introduction-notes-on-radical-materialism/#sthash.76xMEoCX.dpuf

[110]  Kwon, Miwon. 2002. One Place after Another. page 97.

[111] Emily Eliza Scott. 2012. Desert ends. in Ends of the Earth: Art of the Land to 1974. Kaiser, Philipp and Miwon Kwon (editors). 66 – 91. While early land art erased more than recovered indigenous stewardship, there has been a recent  movement of non-indigenous artists challenging erasures of contemporary indigenous communities, and respective histories, associated with colonial and genocidal notions of  a “purportedly ‘vanishing race'” (Jeannine Tang. 2015. Look again: Subjectivity, sovereignty, and Andrea Geyer’s “Spiral Lands.”in Critical Landscapes: Art, Space, Politics. Emily Eliza Scott & Kirsten Swenson (eds). Berkeley: University of California Press. 93 – 109. See page 95).  Also see, Nicholas Brown. 2015. The vanishing Indian repeat photography project (2011-). in Critical Landscapes: Art, Space, Politics. Emily Eliza Scott & Kirsten Swenson (eds). 134 – 138.

[112] Germano Celant interview between Philipp Kaiser and Miwon Kwon. 2012. in Ends of the Earth: Art of the Land to 1974. 123 – 127.  For the mention of Michael Heizer and Dennis Oppenheim, see page 123.

2022 pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

2. Cultivation of native fruit trees as aesthetic practices: indigenous, decolonial & ecologically restorative

contents

0.      introduction: tree cultivation as aesthetic practices responding to multiple crises

I.          some northern circumpolar fruit tree gene pools

II.        defending Proust’s nineteenth century orchards:  reconnecting enjoyment to cultivation, stewardship and art-making

III.       challenging the aftermath of colonial violence & erasure: recovering indigenous orchards

IV.       decolonizing land art: from non-sites to re-establishing indigenous stewardship

V.        decolonizing permaculture & agroecology as intercultural  conversations

VI.       native fruit tree cultivation as aesthetic responses to  ecological crises

VII.      conclusions & questions: recombining fruit cultivation practice as new forms of organic multimedia art

notes ………………………………………………………………………

2019 – 22 pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

0.

introduction:

trees cultivation as aesthetic practices

responding to multiple crises

“Erect and towering in vast offering of their branches, and yet calm and refreshed, the trees, in their strange and natural posture, murmur gracefully, inviting us to participate in so ancient and so youthful life, so different from our own, and virtually its obscure and inexhaustible reserve.”

Marcel Proust 1895 “Under The Trees”[1]

The previous essay explored fruit trees and orchards as artistic media whereas this discussion builds a lexicon of aesthetic practices in the service of these three contemporary projects: recovery of indigenous (arbori)culture as culture; decolonizing perspectives on fruit and respective trees; and responding to planetary crises around climate and biodiversity (including threats to fruit gene pools). The endgame, in the nearly lost / presque perdu project has been to begin to demonstrate some interventions in public space that re-establish small groves of tree crops especially older varieties.

To honour the tree planting legacies of countless indigenous and peasant orchardists around the Northern Hemisphere along with twentieth century artists such as Joseph Beuys and Alan Sonfist[2], I argue that agriculture and horticulture embody practices central to the collaborative and community-based impulses in contemporary art. In this work, we are also strongly influenced by the relational aesthetics[3] proposed over a decade ago[4], that we define as more concerned with social learning than production of static art objects, and more recent forms of radical materialism centred on cultural cognition of threats to the biosphere and human life support and that in turn challenge to intensifying social inequities. Central to this inherently decolonial work is to contrast the cultures, economies, and systems of land stewardship of the four shifting circumpolar gene pools that built Western Europe and sustained north-western North America.[5]

The forms of fruit tree cultivation are myriad as are associated cultures and practices. Across ecosystem-based and more regional and globalized economies, supporting a range of cultures from tribal to cosmopolitan, fruit and tree symbolism and narratives have had a myriad of roles with cultivation often linked to ceremony and performance. The previous essay in this series, explaining the nearly lost / presque perdu project, argued that fruit and orchards can be aesthetic media unto themselves. This essay investigates cultivation practices that are often utilitarian, on one hand, and ceremonial and aesthetic, on the other hand. These disappearing forms of cultivation and be revisited and, while avoiding exploitative forms of appropriation, can be recombined to produce contemporary multimedia art in response to three of the most central crises and related activism of this century: loss of indigenous and more generally rural cultures (including arboriculture) including language; further displacement of respective communities from their land bases especially the usurping of aboriginal stewardship; and loss of both biodiversity compounded by climate change.

Recombining traditional ecological knowledge, modern science and contemporary art practices can generate investigations and artistic statements that transform communities. Such projects invoke cultural and environmental memories in ways that generate art-making – including fruit trees and orchards. Imagining and cultivating new networks of fruit trees, orchards, and woodlands could comprise a disruptive form of contemporary art form unto itself – that will be explored in the following essay. And much of this aesthetic work around fruit, trees, history, communities and cultivation disrupts dominant twentieth century notions of subjectivity, collaboration, presentation, labour and production.

In these recovery processes, I use “aesthetics” to span cultural narratives, creative impulses, actual artistic production, enjoyment of creative products, and discussion that can involve criticism and theorizing. “Aesthetic practices” are used, in turn, for those cultivation practices that are not entirely for modern forms of fruit production with market economies. These aesthetic practices range from the indigenous and traditional (including language and visual conveyance) to research, experimentation, and archive development and then to new ways to cope with global crises related to loss of biological diversity and climate change. In a time when fruit production is increasingly dominated by large corporations, too often relying on diminishing gene pools, aesthetic practices provide refuges and conceptual and institutional transmission for a host of worldviews, knowledge, and techniques not supported, and more often obliterated, by today’s conventional fruit-growing practices.

Today, aspects of tree cultivation are also multimedia artmaking practices that respond to multiple crises. This essay focuses on responses to three crises: the difficulties of recovery and repair of indigenous and traditional peasant tree-cultivation cultures after centuries of erasures; the social contests and turmoil from challenges to ever the present hierarchies, violence, and inequities imposed through colonialism; and the intensifying threats to planetary life support especially related to carbon pollution, climate change, loss of habitat and biological diversity, and toxic substances.  In the face of imperatives to act, new aesthetic forms of fruit cultivation and production can challenge colonial binaries and constraints for imagining decolonial futures while embedded in contemporary site-based art and agricultural production.

After describing the four most important fruit tree gene pools in the northern hemisphere and beginning to identify a set of cultivation practices, I explore the limits of the modern subject, illustrated by the literary works of Proust, with only narrow, consumerist engagements with agriculture and food. I then begin to identify aesthetic practices that challenge the erasure of indigenous fruit tree cultivation in north-western North America, decolonize land and related environmental art along with permaculture, and responds to the threats to the biosphere from climate, to toxics, to loss of habitat, forest, and biological diversity. What follows in this essay is an overview of the four fruit and nut tree gene pools central to northern circumpolar cultures followed by a critique of Proust’s nostalgic descriptions of orchards in fin-de-siècle France as part of creating notions of the modern twentieth century consumer including isolation from the knowledge and labour of fruit tree cultivation. A contrast these declines in rural landscapes in Europe to the destruction and erasure of indigenous orchards in north-western North America extending into the land art of the second have of the twentieth century. I then sketch the explosion in tree and fruit cultivation in contemporary visual art especially since the 1970s and link these diverse movements and practices to the contemporary multimedia art-making spanning a growing number of mediums, sites, digital devices, and forms of representation and documentation.

2021 November 1 – 9 chokecherry names, pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

I.

some northern circumpolar fruit tree gene pools

In the Northern Hemisphere, four gene pools of fruit trees have evolved with, sustained human communities, and often been central to respective cultures:

apple, crab-apple (Pacific crabapple[6]) and pear (Malus spp.[7]);

plum and cherry (Prunus spp.)[8];

hazelnut (Corylus spp.)[9], and

hawthorn (Crataegus spp.).

There are also some seminal fruit shrubs that underlaid human culture in both north-western North America and north-western Eurasia, especially Rubus species spanning blackberries and raspberries, Vaccinium species with blueberries and cranberries, and grape, Vitis spp. These shrubs are for another essay but often have co-existed with these fruit trees.

Thriving in an almost continuous arc from Western Europe, through Eurasia, to western North America, the many species in these gene pools were shaped by traditional communities in both Eurasia and the Americas. There is an increasing body of knowledge suggesting that some of the populations of these fruit trees on the West Coast of North America have been enriched by marine and land-based peoples moving east across the now-inundated land bridge, Beringia[10], at various periods over the last 14,000 years.

Today, many of these groves of wild trees, and orchards of traditional indigenous and post-colonial cultivars are in decline. Respective habitats, such as hedgerows, are being cut down to monotonous fields and urban areas. Ecological edges, where these small trees often thrive, are not being maintain by traditional agriculture and burning. The traditional practices to maintain certain species and varieties are being discontinued and forgotten. In many areas, there is more pervasive, cultural erasure. For example, the Salish Sea gene pools, modified and managed for millennia by indigenous communities, are under threat not only from habitat change but from the loss of local languages and the cultural knowledge to which it is tied. In this context, a growing body of legal decisions have allowed First Nations to re-establish some stewardship and consultation practices.

Curiously, some mid-19th Century fruit trees, planted by the first settlers around the Salish Sea, have naturalized and hybridized with local species. Similarly throughout Eurasia, wild and early cultivars continue to hybridize. These adaptive introgression[11] processes are important for the evolution and survival of these tree crops, thickets and orchards especially in the face of climate change and environmental stress. To keep it simple for this essay on practices, these fruit tree gene pools are divided into the following:

  1. truly wild and unmodified before climate change in the sense of probably being so remote as to not having been created by historic and prehistoric human communities through harvesting and intensive stewardship – with very few of these populations having existed in both Europe and North America in recent millennia;
  1. as with the previous category, “wild relatives of crops[12] for fruit trees are populations in relatively unmodified and ‘wild’ conditions today, such as in protected areas, that are products of indigenous ecological legacies[13] involving various levels of domestication[14] through practices of translocation (planting seed and cuttings), harvesting, intensive stewardship, and often hereditary ownership up until recent centuries – that were sometimes originally created as traditional orchards;
  1. weedy[15] and volunteer populations that often the products of hybridization and introgression between native species and Eurasian cultivars, often those that were pre-grafting, landraces sometimes adjacent to heritage orchards and today extending to experiments such as guerrilla grafting and orchards;
  1. heritage orchards with genetic material transmitted through root and grafted material often populated with nineteenth and early twentieth varieties that have not been heavily modified genetically including field gene banks and experimental farms; and
  1. conventional commercial orchards typically consisting of a small number of recent varieties requiring high levels of inputs, including pesticides, in order to produce commercially viable volume and quality.

Aside from the few truly ‘wild’ portions of these four gene pools, these fruit trees, their recombination of genotypes have been modified for at least 10,000 years through human presence, harvesting, stewardship, and landscape aesthetics. For the last two centuries, some European “breeders” have been engaged in make new forms, and fresh art – reflecting combination of values and priorities often shaped by governments and markets. More importantly, there have been many multigenerational processes, always at least part aesthetic, to favour certain characteristics in these gene pools particularly in parts of east Asia and the Middle East. Each of these regional domestication and breeding clusters have involved religious, aesthetic, and political economic dimensions.

In exploring ways to protect and reintroduce individual trees and small orchards into the public spaces of Western North America and Western Europe, legions of stories spanning fruit gene pools and human communities become evident. One better known set of indigenous stories around a native fruit tree, involving scores of cultures and languages and that still barely recovered, is around Pacific crabapple. Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner noted in 2005 that, “Pacific crabapple (Pyrus fusca [now classified as Malus fusca), for instance, was prized for its fruit, which was gathered in tremendous quantities up and down the coast.”[16] Routson et al. 2012 described the distribution of Pacific crabapple, without any definitive identification of subspecies or stable variants, from the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska to the mountains of central California.[17] Victoria Wyllie de Echeverria argued further that,

“Since Malus fusca has been shown genetically as being more closely related to certain species of crabapples in Asia, rather than to one of the other crabapple species in North America, botanists have postulated that Pacific crabapples possibly spread to North America via Beringia during the Late Pleistocene.”[18]

A decade ago, Wyllie de Echeverria  posited that, “by using these two knowledge systems – traditional ecological knowledge and western scientific knowledge – to complement each other, it can result in a more detailed understanding of a botanical species, as they both present us with information about slightly different characteristics.”[19] Reckoning these divergent perspectives (and experiential realities) remains as much, if not more, in the realm of contemporary aesthetic explorations as plant science. Collaborating with Gitga’at elders in Hartley Bay, one of the more southerly of the Coast Tsimshian communities, to describe traditionally tended crabapple trees “(Malus fusca (Raf.) C.K. Schneid.; Rosaceae),” known locally as moolks, Victoria Wyllie de Echeverria 2013 “identified significant [morphological] variation within and among trees.”[20] This phenotypic[21] and genetic variation within this large circumpolar gene pool was only partly recognized by Wyllie de Echeverria while she noted that,

“There are four native Malus species described from North America…with Malus fusca being the sole geographical, morphological, genetic and chemical outlier…Malus fusca is the only crabapple native to the West, and is geographically separated from the other three North American species by over 3000 kms. Genetically, Malus fusca is more closely related to several Asian Malus species than to the other North American species, which are more closely related to the European species.”[22]

Wyllie de Echeverria went on to state that,

“First Nations peoples who have relied on this species as an important food for centuries and probably millennia, however, recognize and name different types based on fruit morphology, taste, tree location and other characteristics…”[23]

Considering Gitga’at cultural practices around native crab-apple has an added relevance in that some of the communities on that part of the coast of north-western North America go back 10,000 years. Gitga’at elders even confirmed transplanting of crabapple.[24] along with six varieties of local crabapples named in the Sm’álgyax (Tsimshian) language:

  1. Gasasii, “long legs,” for a small sweet tasting crabapples with long stems on the fruit;
  1. Bu’uxs, “a word referring “to a move in the game of marbles” for larger crabapples that stay green when ripe and very sour tasting;
  1. Auntie Edith’s or Grandma Dawl’s bu’uxs for the patch of bu’uxs belonging to a certain individual person for  crabapples slightly smaller than bu’uxs and sour tasting;
  1. Moolks sigawgaaw for “crow’s crabapples” that red on one side when ripe and sour;
  1. Sm-moolks for “real crabapple” for a residual category of crabapples; the most common type, not belonging to one of the other varieties, and sour tasting; and
  1. Dickwan for over-ripe fruits with skin brown and flesh soft (almost liquid).”[25]

And some of these varieties and phenotypes also have various forms of cultural and aesthetic significance well beyond consumption. Gitga’at knowledge of crabapple extended to identification of sites and orchards based on fruit appearance and taste.[26] As early as at least a decade ago, elders worried that historic crabapple orchards being killed by salt from rising sea levels.[27] 

In beginning to compile a lexicon of aesthetic practices for fruit enjoyment and fruit tree cultivation, the Gitga’at were engaged in the following perspectives and activities:

  • cognitive mapping of trees by visual and olfactory characteristics;
  • selective harvesting of fruit based on visual and olfactory characteristics;
  • stewarding trees based on visual and olfactory characteristics extending to translocation[28] or transplanting seedlings (that probably extended to dividing rooting material separating a seedling clump into two or more and moving some of this material elsewhere);
  • stewardship linked to hereditary ownership and ceremony; and
  • stewardship and planting linked to global change as in sea level rise.

The following is a very different example of fruit tree cultures than the crabapples of the Gitga’at: the loss of traditional orchards, and adjacent habitats of introgression, in Western Europe. Between these poles are hundreds of examples in Eurasia of the loss of fruit tree knowledge, habitats, and production as well as new movements of resurgence and renewal.

2017 April 20 SC̸ET̸EṈIL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN], tthʼuxwunʼ [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’], chokecherry tree, T̸ESNOEṈ [SENĆOŦEN] (Beaver Point) on ĆUÁN [SENĆOŦEN] (Salt Spring Island) * S4200161

II.

defending Proust’s nineteenth century orchards:

           reconnecting enjoyment to cultivation, stewardship and art-making

Where the Gitga’at are an exceptionally localized and remote community, Proust lived in the centre of a vast empire and at its zenith. Like the Gitga’at, Proust had a fondness for apple trees especially “the inimitable ornamentation of their leaves,” and the “broad petals of white satin.”[29] But while Gitga’at apple enjoyment was linked to stewardship and respective community and protocols, Proust’s passive consumer, at best a flâneur, was divorced from communal labour and cultivation knowledge.

In Proust’s orchards, local aesthetics of peasants and aristocrats were irrelevant even if part of rustic landscapes. These orchards of north-central France were products of eighteenth and nineteenth century agriculture that were increasingly revolutionized and transformed through the resources stolen and accumulated from colonialism and the rise of the urban bourgeoise. But embedded in the landscape were certain ecological and political economic relationships, that provided refuges for some wild, semi-domesticated and cultivated fruit trees. Rather than to parse this contested world of fruit trees, Proust conflated what he saw, from his standpoint as a Parisian, as a rustic world bathed in nostalgia. But Proust’s fin-de-siecle orchards, their forms and respective gene pools, were quite different from those a century or more into the future, as we know today, as well as from those a century or two before. Proust attention is more on remembering and observing loss than in trying to decode these dynamic ecosystems and gene pools. In other words, Proust’s losses and stories were real but his readings of the actual orchards were facile – codifying a modernist landscape aesthetic.

For all of its limitations see from today’s world of decolonization, cultural resurgence, and ecological crisis, Proust’s world was revolutionary and liberatory in that it centred on the experiences and wills of individuals less fettered by rural labour and the church. But today, many of the orchards and adjacent wild populations of apple are under increasing pressures and are on the decline.[30]

Individualized aesthetic experience of art and nature laid the basis for new forms of enjoyment of nature and more autonomous sexualities.  But there were some limitations and new constraints from today’s vantage point: the individual become largely divorced, artificially, from community. And aesthetics displaced practical knowledge out of labour along with agricultural and ecological relationships. Proust had his own agenda on aesthetics where,

“No doubt they regarded aesthetic values as material objects which an unclouded vision could not fail to discern, without need to have their equivalent in experience of life stored up and slowly ripening in one’s heart.” [31]

Autonomous enjoyment of fruit tree forms can foster new perceptions and generate some powerful experiences of beauty as when Proust celebrated, “the round shadow that apple trees make on the sunny earth and those silks of impalpable gold which the sunset weaves obliquely under the leaves.”[32] Similarly, Proust celebrated the pear trees as an urban walker around Paris.[33]

While purporting a new kind of realism, Proust described hawthorn trees romantically as part of his outer social network where,

“For often I have wanted to see a person again without discerning that it was simply because she reminded me of a hedge of hawthorns, and I have been lead to believe, to make someone else believe, in a revival of affection, by what was simply a desire to travel.”[34]

From fruit trees, Proust went on to prefigure a more direct form of sensuality, when he noted that, “At that time he had been satisfying a sensual curiosity to know what were the pleasures of those people who lived for love alone.” [35] So with Proust, we see some relatively passive aesthetic practices around fruit and respective trees centred on looking, tasting, walking, and production of text.To defend Proust’s fruit tree landscapes in twenty-first century Europe requires a far more aggressive, policy-savvy, and activist set of aesthetics, strategies, and practices than those celebrated by Proust – while continuing to examine the imperial and bourgeois blinders of his worldview. This project is a theoretical stretch. Any kind of decolonial defences of Proustian agro-ecosystems will require recentring narratives on his social critiques around antisemitism and homophobia and seeing his beautiful landscapes as foils for social contests that interrogate bourgeois propriety. Like its first century, the second century of Proustian narrative, often forms of spatial storytelling, will return to beautiful fruit trees but not in the service of modernism but rather for social equity and community survival.

2021 – 22 pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

III.

challenging the aftermath of colonial violence & erasure:

recovering indigenous orchards

“The story of these [indigenous] cultivation practices and how they came to be overlooked by the people of Europe is an enlightening one…”. Douglas Deur and Nancy Turner 2005[36]

The deep and unbroken engagement of the Gitga’at with the Pacific crab-apple trees of their territory contrasts markedly with the violence and erasure that has destroyed much of the traditional indigenous, fruit tree knowledge, “horticulture”[37] and economies of local fruit. A few years after a horrific smallpox epidemic that depopulated the Salish by as much as eighty percent, George Vancouver described massive fields that were the products of indigenous transformation and use.[38]A half century later, colonial naturalist, Berhold Seemann recognized the huge extent of Salish cultivation in 1846 with “signs of cultivation in every direction.”[39]

Wide-spread destruction of “orchards”[40] became a key element of clearing and settlement. While destruction of indigenous cultivation sites was illegal in the colonial period, these assaults on local communities were enabled by a cultivated blindness to the cultural dimensions of these landscapes. For example, Gilbert James Sproat’s racist claim that indigenous land use on Vancouver Island was very limited.[41] In this way, “[c]ultivated places [have] become contested spaces.”[42] And this active colonial ‘blindness’ was coupled with racist violence and exclusion. For example, the colonial-era, Douglas Treaties of the early 1850s often used the phrase, “these small exceptions” for cultivation and habitation sites in the process of erasing stewardship. The Douglas Treaty templates then went on to repeatedly use the following phrase to take control: “the land itself, with these small exceptions, becomes the entire property of white people forever”[43] – all contrary for cultivation sites to the Royal Proclamation of 1763.[44]

Indigenous communities did not give up their fruit trees and orchards nor watch them be destroyed without a tremendous amount of resistance. Numerous late nineteenth and early twentieth century efforts by First Nations to protect and maintain stewardship and harvesting of traditional orchards. [45] Efforts to defend these strategic sites and lands subsided only when First Nations governments were politically neutralized with local arboriculture practices and economies subsequently erased through institutional assaults such as residential schools. In British Columbia there were hundreds of presentations to government officials along with scores legal interventions in the hopes of protecting traditional orchards – until such court challenges were outlined early in the twentietch century. The most documented of these struggles over indigenous orchards in north-western North America was in 1897 where the Haisla of Kitimaat asserted traditional ownership of their “Crab Apple Gardens.”[46]

Indigenous orchards in north-western North America were the casualties of the twin projects of colonization and imperialism (including erasure of indigenous cultures) required ignoring indigenous management as “not labour” and cultivation sites as “not owned”.[47] In 2005, Deur and Turner were the first to sketch, within academia, the outright erasure of indigenous cultivation in north-western North America through misguided anthropologists notably Alfred Kroeber and Franz Boaz.[48] They called for “[r]econceptualizing cultivation” effectively decolonizing notions of growing food. [49] They began to challenge narrow concepts of cultivation[50] with its Eurocentric baggage.

Today, most of those orchards are gone though sometimes roots and shoots survive providing hope for partial recovery. More grounds for hope are the hundreds of successful interventions, some legalistic and most on the ground, by First Nations in north-western North America to re-establish stewardship over territories.[51] Two contemporary movements of First Nations are beginning to take back indigenous fruit tree cultivation. The expanding framework for consultation of proposed development on respective territories could consider traditional and contemporary orchards though there has been little publicizing or documentation so far. Secondly, there is tremendous interest in indigenous foods. As part of reconnecting to lands and traditional cultivation, scores of indigenous food sovereignty projects increasingly involve plant fruit-bearing trees and shrubs.

Less organized, so far, has been the case for the continued ownership, by indigenous communities, of semi-domesticated tree forms as First Nations-owned varieties, effectively landraces as precursors to crop varieties, especially for Pacific crabapple. “Domestication” of crops is the product of cultural practices over many generations as “the genetic modification of crops as a result of selective cultivation and propagation of plants with anomalous and desirable traits.” For long-lived fruit trees that often take nearly a decade to become reproductively mature, domestication involves thousands of years of cultural practices. For example, Victoria Wyllie de Echeverria described sweet and sour crabapple “domesticates, or proto-domesticates”[52] in the same gene pool as cultivated Eurasian apples. Perhaps more profound, Wyllie de Echeverria has confirmed that “the different varieties recognized by some Indigenous groups, lead to a more differentiated classification scheme for this plant than is reflected in western science.”[53] And this divergence in ethnographic experiences do not only have direct implications for taxonomy and other fields of natural sciences but to cultural studies, postcolonial aesthetics, and the make of new representational and site-based works. So these species, genetic resources, and cultural sites have only been partially described to the modern world with only a few examples so far recovered.

In north-western North America, traditional indigenous use, stewardship and cultivation practices for fruit and nut patches included a wide range of activities and techniques often with spiritual and aesthetic dimensions. For the sake of clarity, I divide this list of practices into ‘use’ and ‘cultivation’ though both categories are imbued with Eurocentric biases that were largely irrelevant to these cultures. The following are partial lists of use and other enjoyment practices for these four indigenous fruit trees.

The one native species of apple, was “highly important fruit for Northwest Coast peoples” [54] with landrace varieties, ecotypes and phenotypes sometimes identified and utilized selectively.  Of the north-western North American fruit trees species, Malus fusca has the closest links to Eurasia and “possibly spreading from Asia in Late Pleistocene.”[55] Contemporary usage in Kamchatka includes as fuel, implements, and medicine.[56] On the North-West coast, crab-apple berries were picked in late summer and fall, cooked slightly and stored in water or eulachon oil in boxes, that were often traded[57], and often eaten with grease.[58] Crabapple fruit and red elderberries were simmered into a sauce.[59] Crabapple bark was an important medicine[60] with squares ceremonially harvested. Infusions of this bark were used to fight colds.[61] Crabapple wood was sometimes used for spiritually imbued digging sticks and tools.[62]

The two species of cherry trees were used differently. Along with crabapple, chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, trees often produced significant amounts of nutritionally strategic fruit such as in the Interior Plateau of British Columbia and northern interior. There, two varieties were recognized, red-fruited and black-fruited, with large amounts of pits recovered from early archaeological sites.[63] Chokecherry fruit was pounded into mush to remove the pits.[64] Chokecherry fruit was dried and traded between the Interior and the coast.[65] In contrast, bitter cherry, tended to produce less fruit but its bark was traded up and down the coast and into the Interior of British Columbia making a red dye for basket decorating. Bitter-cherry wood is very hard and was used for tool handles, especially knives, and traded[66] In contrast, poles of chokecherry were light though weak and often favoured for tipis.

Both bitter and chokecherry bark were key ingredients for many indigenous medicines in north-western North America.[67] W̱SÁNEĆ elder Violet Williams described harvesting protocols where rectangles of roughly 3 by 5 centimetres were taken in the morning on an empty stomach with harvesting for a particular person who is ill.[68]

The fruit of the two species of black hawthorn, in north-western North America, were harvested for food. Analogous to the two cherries species, Crataegus douglasii, was the species that produces economically significant amounts fruit. Fruit was pounded to remove the pits was kneaded into cakes for winter.[69] Dried fruit and cakes were traded.

Large quantities of native hazelnuts, Corylus cornuta[70]were gathered from the West Coast to well into the into the interior of North America.  There was extensive trade and processing of native hazelnut.[71]

The following is a partial list of combined cultivation and stewardship practices for these indigenous fruit trees:

            creation of “manufactured soil” as a prerequisite for cultivation[72];

fertilizing around cherry trees[73];

weeding such as the Haida controlling other plant growth around their crabapple

trees[74];

pruning[75], such as of crabapple, where “Trees [were] tended pruned, lopped, and

transplanted”[76], and more intensive coppicing[77] often topped[78]to foster strong

horizontal branches for making subsequent harvesting easier[79];

thinning[80];

an array of burning practices[81] to clear areas[82] and stimulate growth[83] with

expertise including seasonal conditions for burning, types of days, tides and

wind[84] with one 1848 complaint of traditional burning of indigenous orchards in

Sooke, on Vancouver Island, in August through October of that year[85] with many

of the records, located so far, of burning orchards for thinning hazelnut[86];

planting orchards with hazelnut and crabapple often relying on twigs as the major

reproductive material[87];

landraces of crabapple, cherry[88], and hazelnut were recognized and often guided

transplanting;

an array of transplanting[89] and “translocation” [90] practices extending north along

the coast to at least the Skeena River[91]  including the use of “pegs” of vegetative

 material as the crux of cultivation of food plants in the estuaries of Kingcome

 Inlet, including crabapple[92], such as described by the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw Chief

Adam Dick[93];

“intensification” [94] such as increasing tree densities through planting to create

“orchards” of crabapple[95], hazelnut[96], and cherries;

spreading seed[97] and other reproductive material such as twigs and roots;

the Secwépemc, in the Interior mountains, intervened in insect infestations on and

managed tent caterpillars on chokecherry[98];

fruit tree wood was used for fencing partially to protect inter-cropping plots of

pollinating species such as West Coast tobacco, Nicotiana quadrivalvis[99]often

after clearing and low intensity burning in part to benefit respective orchards;

cognitive maps for intensive gathering and stewardship ‘grounds’ were inscribed

with social and cultural meanings[100];

prayers to plants such as in the case of Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw  prayers that is better

translated as “words of praise”[101] along with related verbalizing and ceremony such as Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw invocations to berry bushes before being burned[102];

First Fruit ceremonies[103] often organized by and celebrating the leaders of

lineages engaged in respective stewardship, ownership, and fruit distribution[104]

that often involved observing anthropopathic relationships that saw human-like

feelings in those cultivated trees[105];  and

“ownership may be defined as the formal recognition of rights to control access to

lands and resources”[106] as “primary rights”[107] for “restriction of non-kin access”[108] to food production sites, especially crabapple orchards[109], with “ownership protocols” “authority over land and resources”[110] sometimes combined with and sometimes diverging from stewardship[111] with just one example from the W̱SÁNEĆ of south-eastern Vancouver Island adjacent islands where there was differentiation between ownership of land and taking care of it.[112]  And at the north end of Vancouver Island, Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw ownership and cultivation extended to crabapple.[113] Poles were sometimes used to demarcate property lines.[114]

Much of inheritance of trees was gender-based with some fruit economies matrilineal and others patrilineal.[115] Women often directed management practices including pruning, weeding, and controlled burning.[116] Most of the practices above were specific for particular species of native fruit trees as well as specific territories, cultures, languages and ecosystems. For example, Pacific crabapple was a crucial and highly prestigious food item often given as gifts with specific “ownership protocols.” [117]

For many cultures in north-western North America, “plants [continue to] serve as mediators across spiritual barriers.”[118] But where a small and sacred plant, such as KEXMIN, Lomatium nudicaule, can be nurtured somewhat surreptitiously, orchard comprise more obvious territory.  Certainly, crabapple gardens[119] continue to be sacred spaces.  Crabapples often had important ceremonial uses in the life stages of women.[120] For example, Pacific crabapple were used by Haida women to mark puberty and womanhood[121] where the fruit was thought to be former human beings.[122] Some north coast cultures thought of crabapple fruits as human eyes served as food in the land of the dead. Crabapple trees were sometimes views as supernatural beings which in a sense they were for providing key nutrition, preservable over the winter months.

Most enigmatic were beliefs about crabapple powers for ecological regeneration. Some crabapple cultures harboured a complex concept of a magical expansion of twigs to re-establish devastated ecosystems.[123]

Reviews of the ethnographies of the other three fruit tree gene pools has been far less extensive.  For the Lil’wat, bitter cherry was associated with supernatural powers.[124] One route for fuller understanding of the religious and cultural significant as these smaller trees as ecological linchpins, are language and stories. For example, chokecherry is central to two, foundation Ktunaxa stories on Coyote and Grizzly Bear and Mosquito.[125]

While much of her local ethnobotanies were hurried and partial, Nancy Turner mentioned an important set of stories involving the Volcano Woman (or Creek Woman or Frog Woman). Some believe that these stories came in the latter sea migrations from Asia where ancient communities were punished for not respecting the Earth (and their own stewardship customs).[126] The roles of these fruit trees, especially Pacific crabapple, in these stories remain unexplored.

How to recover, steward, honour, and support re-establishment of these orchards in an era of intense appropriation? Across scores of languages, cultures, aesthetics and narratives, there are already many community-centred initiatives than span families, clans and governments – with a few guest artists invited to provide symbolism and rhetoric. The spread is breath-taking ranging from reasserted stewardship, on one hand, to public art and responses to the growing hazards of the Anthropocene on end of a diversifying array of practices. And directing, managing, and withholding information, such as on site and plants, become distinct cultural practices in themselves. All of this work remains vulnerable to the worst kinds of appropriation. In response, Lucy Lippard sketched a fin-de-siècle picture of indigenous aesthetic practices of “emotional sovereignty” noting that, “Native Americans have had good historical reason to keep their most important feelings and knowledge to themselves, to maintain a kind of indigenous withholding details of traditional (and contemporary) knowledge as a form of resistance.”[127]

Whether as part of food sovereignty initiatives, memorials to families, territorial demarcations, community renewal, or creative responses to the ‘Anthropocene’, new orchards are forms of repair: ecological, political, emotional, nutritional, demographic, cultural and aesthetic. Traditional indigenous orchards were rich intersections of sensibilities and resources. New orchards will be recreated and maintained by a cultural richness that will warrant, more than what we saw in the twentieth century, the ambitious label of “land art.”

2018 August 10 old, tthʼuxwunʼ [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’], SC̸ET̸EṈIL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN], chokecherry tree in a traditional managed grove, Hwmet’utsun [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’] protected landscape * P8100387

IV.

decolonizing land art:

from non-sites to re-establishing indigenous stewardship

“Indigenous peoples in north-western North America were not just casual wanderers through a bountiful land, hauling salmon from the rivers and perhaps plucking a few clusters of berries as they were encountered. They were active participants in managing their environments and in using their resources sustainably treating them with care and consideration.”

Nancy Turner 2014 [128]

“Olmsted’s parks exist before they are finished, which means in fact they are never finished; they remain carriers of the unexpected and of contradiction on all levels of human activity, be it social, political, or natural.”

Robert Smithson 1973[129]

“I’ve come to the reluctant conclusion that much land art is a pseudo rural art made from a metropolitan headquarters, a kind of colonization in itself.”

 Lucy Lippard 2014[130]

In imagining indigenous and decolonial, “social practices”[131] to nurture local fruit tree cultivation cultures as part of contemporary art, the early decades of land art in the mid-twentieth century were revolutionary and broke some of the old Eurocentric notions of art. [132]  But early land art viewed from today is a largely a neocolonial movement negating local ecosystems and human presence,[133] provides some lessons. Curiously, only few early works of land art engaged with living material and cultivation practices. The few works that did engage with ecosystems have provided routes for bringing local cultures of cultivation into contemporary culture.

Lucy Lippard posited that “Ideally part land and art, it is best located deep in place, where one comes upon it unexpectedly, like ruins and rock art — poignant reminds of human agency and time’s victories. The viewer, like the artist, is so awed, so sensitized, so aware of seasons and materials, space and wildlife, that the work truly co-exists with the place it creates.”[134] Robert Smithson’s 1966 essay on dialectics transformed the notion of a work of art from object to process where “a dialectical materialism applied to the physical landscape. Dialectics of this type are a way of seeing things in a manifold of relations, not as isolated objects. Nature for the dialectician is indifferent to any formal ideal.”[135] Smithson’s ideal of art presented audiences with “the physicality of things outside” [136] often taking advantage of dramatic “geologically ambiguous sites”[137] while effectively erasing signs of human presence and knowledge of ongoing stewardship.

Lucy Lippard argued that, “The task of land art, on the other hand, is to focus landscapes too vast for the unaccustomed eye to take in, or to give us views into the cosmos, connecting places where we stand with the places will we never stand.”[138] These large works both obscured the “colonial wounds”[139] that depopulated sites and through that obfuscation contributed to the further dispossession of indigenous communities on respective territories.[140] As part of her critique of the colonial nature of the practices of the most influential land artists, Lippard imagined “A vernacular land art [that] might include commemoration that looks to the smaller scale, land-based notions of nature, remembering small farms and common lands, the disappearing histories of places and ecosystems.”[141]

But how to move art-making on the land from the colonial to the decolonial? Early land art comprised exploitative intrusions enabled by the art world because as T.J. Demos argues, “Colonialism, at its most basic, imposes a subject-object relation of power, defined by mastery and appropriation.”[142] Early land art replicated cultural forms of colonialism on the land while trying to free itself outside of the art world through creating  ‘Non-sites” [143] as an “abstract container” of the physical site with “installations that transgress the boundaries of the museum through literal and symbolic dialogue with remote sites — wilderness areas, or the wastelands of the metropolitan fringe”[144] One of the most notorious examples of early land art as ecological obstruction and erasure is Robert Smithson’s 1970 “Glue Pour (destroyed)”[145] imposed on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territory outside of the City of Vancouver. Drawn to the area because of resistance to some of his projects near where he lived in the United States, “Pour Glue” was literally toxic with the artist paying little or no attention to the site’s history or vulnerability.[146] The rising artist was sufficiently sophisticated in his thinking to conceive of Pour Glue (Destroyed) as an illustration of colonial relationships on the land (while perpetuated most of these dynamics) where, “Smithson developed a “toxic discourse” in which he treated the nineteenth-century landscape as a totally engineered prototype for the twentieth.”[147] The “dialectic” [148] that he sketched had a more direct relationship to acknowledging erasure of indigenous legacies in landscapes without any sense of responsibility for contributing to recovery and repair – while not fully acknowledging that his practices were still part of  that “violence.”[149] Public art’s contributions to the cultural perpetuation of projects of control and accumulation, involving repeated assaults, was explored briefly two decades back by Miwon Kwon.[150]

While the currency of the larger land art sites created a half century ago, especially by Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer, was bulldozing, there was, simultaneously, a thread of cultivation presented as modern, western art explored by Dennis Oppenheim, especially the work 1969 “Directed Seeding” and “Cancelled Crop[151] and Hans Haacke’s 1969, “Fog, Flooding, Erosion and his 1972, Rhine-Water Purification Plant.”[152] In the same period, Helen and Newton Mayer Harrison began a much longer engagement in cultivation with the 1971-2 “Portable Farm” and “Portable Orchard.”[153]

In the face of only a few projects ever involving cultivation practices in site-based art, two works on trees have been influential. Alan Sonfist’s “Time Landscape” on lower Manhattan goes back to 1965 and continues to illustrate woodland succession.[154]

A decade and a half later, Joseph Beuys, in one of his most active periods politically, transformed Kassel with his “7000 Eichen – Stadtverwaldung statt Stadtverwaltung  /  7000 Oaks – City Forestation Instead of City Administration.”[155]

Since those early works of the 1970s and 1980s, there has been a modest increase in art works with cultivation though few have full engaged with site histories and earlier (and current) human populations. Nor has acknowledging experiences of indigeneity been  central to these works. herman de vries recreated a meadow of native plants in The Netherlands through practices he termed “decultivation.”[156] Early on in his career, Mel CHIN grew plants in some of his works as “remediation.”[157] In Vancouver in the 1990s, Oliver Kellhammer created several works centred on cultivation sometimes with conventional fruit trees as part of demonstrating “Open Source Landscapes.”[158] Recently, Ron Benner, a non-indigenous artist actively engaged in solidarity, explored indigenous cultivation in Gardens of a Colonial Present / Jardins d’un Present Colonial.[159]  

It has not been easy for indigenous artist to reintroduce cultivation practices especially when much of those skills and aesthetics have been erased.  Duane Linklater’s 2012 blueberry garden[160] created more space for indigenous cultivation as art-making[161] similarly, Rebecca Belmore’s 2012 unwrapping a tree on Canada Day[162] linked organic to performative practices.

It is one set of formidable challenges to recover cultivation aesthetics and safe spaces, it is another more problematic process to use such organic interventions for inter-cultural dialogue. So indigenous fruit tree cultivation as an artistic intervention in the well-defended territory of a First Nation can be part of a process that Jordan Abel[163] awkwardly termed “Indianizing” most future orchards will be in far more contested landscapes.  In 2015 Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill and Sophie McCall argued that, “Arts-based approaches to reconciliation are often touted as a positive step forward and are viewed favourably in narratives of ‘moving on’ and ‘healing’ in the name of a unified nation” effectively implying “that art’s function is to smooth over, to make whole rather than disrupt.”[164]

Over the last two decades, there has been a modest movement of non-indigenous artists trying to challenge the erasures of contemporary indigenous communities, and respective histories, associated with colonial and genocidal notions of the “purportedly ‘vanishing race'”[165] and the broader narrative of Indian extinction. Indigenous experts on plant knowledge, notably Robin Kimmerer, have stressed “reciprocity” between people, plants, and the earth[166] and “the moral covenant of reciprocity.”[167] This activist botany has been laying the basis to critique erasures of key plants, including the right to restore, modify, repossess and heal sites even with land art that obstructed harvesting, stewardship and spiritual observances and other ceremony. These practices, in turn, lay the basis for broader challenges to “colonial spatialities,” well beyond consultations on traditional territories, as part of expanding toolkits of cultural “resurgence”[168] and indigenous “mobilization.”[169]

Re-establishing indigenous orchards could be part of even more ambitious projects. Dylan Robinson and Keren Zaiontz argued for new public art in the Vancouver region, “To develop a civic infrastructure of redress means to develop a location on unceded Coast Salish territory through the city’s very form, from its sidewalk to its signs and from its public art to its uses by the urban Aboriginal public in asserting their rights to sovereign space.”[170] The concept of indigenous survivance[171], and the expanding movement to explore futures defined simply by survival, is important here in moving from “redress” to joy extending to appropriating high art techniques for healing the land for “Opening ourselves up to experiencing direct communication and embodied being-with plants is therefore an exercise of extending our preconceived ideas of what a “person” actually means, and then, honing one’s sensorial faculties to stretch our capacity for knowing beyond the human scale and re-connect with what David Abram terms ‘the many-voiced landscape’.” [172] In this way, living works by and for indigenous populations can move from being commodities[173] in western art economies to means of care within thriving communities. And certainly new orchards can be part of articulating an array of what Leanne Betasamosake Simpson termed, “indigenous aesthetics” in part “to disrupt the noise of colonialism.”[174]

2017 April 25 buds of MÁT̸ŦEN IL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN], Metth’unulhp [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’], Douglas black hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii, Xwaaqw’um [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’], Burgoyne Bay, ĆUÁN [SENĆOŦEN] (Salt Spring Island) * S4250648

V.

decolonizing permaculture & agroecology as intercultural conversations

Today, land art, as part of a global art economy, warrants decolonization and in many cases indigenous rebuilding of artistic installations. In addition, conventional agricultural cultivation remains yoked to a small number of Eurasian varieties and practices in economies that too often still denigrate indigenous food production. We are a long way from any defensible and sustainable postcolonial ecologies as we can see in the following examples. Much of organic agriculture still contributes more to “settling,” as in imposing certain favoured agricultural activities on the land, in contrast to “unsettling,” acknowledging indigenous populations and governments, and dismantling Eurocentric hierarchies. Here, I posit two different movements of organic agriculture: permaculture driven by innovative gardeners and agroecology as grounded in ethnographic studies of farming systems. The empiricism of agroecology methods have fostered a nuanced recognition of diverse indigenous farming systems[175], especially in Mexico, with metrics for community health.

The vague and widely circulated term, “permaculture,” is largely derived from early critiques of colonial Australian agriculture by visionary Bill Mollison.[176] But while Mollison’s perspectives continue to be grounded in the losses perpetrated during colonial Tasmania and contemporary attempts at recovery, the various permaculture movements have rarely acknowledged and allied with decolonial projects either around food production, land redistribution, and recovery aesthetics. Many focus on a small number of simple principles similar to other forms of organic agriculture such as that stated in 2009 by the London-based, The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination 2009

“Permaculture is an ecological design system whose central tenet is that by observing the way ecosystems such as a forest or meadow work, we can learn to build human habitats that are energy efficient, resilient, waste free and productive. Described by some as “the art of creating beneficial relationships” and by others as “the science of connections”, Permaculture merges traditional wisdom with contemporary ecological research.”[177]

Question arise here about the extent of the “observing” and respective biases.

Problematic for re-establishment of indigenous orchards, permaculture methods have rarely involved assessing native plants and indigenous crops. Too often, relationship between cultural legacies in the landscape and the multicultural present with social projects such as recovery of indigenous food sovereignty have been ignored in favour of a few fast-growing fruit trees and shrubs combined with annuals. In their fascinating sketch of gardens and sound as somewhat integrated art works, Caleb Kelly and Ross Gibson 2010 note that,

“Permaculture is a popular and very effective gardening practice in Australia [the region in which it was first popularized], but it is not universally loved. For one thing some permaculturists tend to be rather zealous and evangelical about their methods and philosophy and for another, it is difficult to describe permaculture gardens as aesthetically satisfying with reference to any conventional definition of beauty or refinement. True, this may indicate that the standard definitions need revision, but to put it bluntly, permaculture gardens can look unruly, scrappy, weedy and unplanned (despite the fact that there is always a strong background-design to every healthy permaculture garden).” [178]

In recent decades, there are movements to more clearly combine planting fruit trees and other crops as part of challenging social disparities and food insecurity. Artisanal interventions sometimes labelled “guerilla gardening”[179] along with guerilla grafting[180] and viticulture embody a wide range of local movements. The Los Angeles-based Fallen Fruit collective combined planting, harvesting, processing, and art-making in ways that are festive and of long-term benefits to neighbourhoods.[181] In a similar vein, a community group in Seattle has established a food forest for local residents regardless of their incomes.[182] And some of this urban ecology goes back to nineteenth century urban gardening and activism most notably the containing gardening movement originating in London with its curious lineage going back to the explosive creativity of the Young Romantics in Geneva.[183]

One aesthetic movement of the second half of the twentieth century that paralleled land art but that has been poor investigated for its ecological and cultivation impulses is Arte Povera. The relatively short-lived movement, largely confined to Italy, was conceptual and minimalist often using cheap and found materials echoing vernaculars of abjection and industrial discard while prefiguring the inevitable ecological impoverishment of the Anthropocene. Today, the 1967 Manifesto by Germano Celant first appears as a mash-up of the projects of the twentieth century, European avant-garde though at times points to stripping down modernism,

“It’s a question of an identification between man and nature, but with none of the theological purposes of the medieval narrator-narratum; the intention, quite to the contrary, is pragmatic, and the goal is liberation, rather than any addition of ideas or objects to the world as it presents itself today…in favor of a focalization… that live instead as self-sufficient social gestures…The shift that has to be brought about is thus the return to limited and ancillary projects where the human being is the fulcrum and the fire of research…”[184]

In the face of the excesses and environmental costs of industrial production, art has “self-sufficient social gestures” could extend to learning how to grow the heartiest most local fruit trees. And Arte Povera also contributed to  general destabilization of the Western art world through,

“its use of everyday materials, such as: iron, wood, charcoal, sludge, basic foodstuffs, etc. and talked about a work of art that crosses the boundary between life and art. Marked a conflict with the art of painting and especially the expressive tradition, revolted against all Western Art, which was dominated by the School of Vision…The artists of the Arte Povera agreed not only to deny the aesthetic practice of Abstract Art and the consumption-oriented design, beyond their differences in theoretical positions, they had a common goal. To extend the range of art on that sociopolitical area in which we should build the creative process of both sensory and visual observation and critical transformation of the world.”[185]

The most important contribution to revisioning cultivation as part of contemporary culture is its contribution to today radical materiality that investigates and sometimes celebrates everyday objects[186] – today items increasingly investigated for ecological impacts such as carbon footprints and recyclability. The simple organicism of Arte Povera was sometimes powerful and occasionally trivial. Piero Manzoni dabbled in excrement carefully canned as a precious object. At times, the “igloo” by Gilberto Zorio and Mario Merz, as part of “When Attitudes Become Form” and the weavings of Marisa Merz alluded to rank appropriation of the so-called ‘primitive’. But such work created a gateway for appreciation of indigenous technologies into the global art world. It was the humility and simplicity of much of the Arte Povera works that were small steps towards today’s tree cultivation as artistic production. But few, if any of these works, were ever installed outside involving material that kept living.[187]

Today, the movements for agroecology, permaculture, and agroforestry[188] are all becoming institutionalized. But indigenous fruit tree cultivation in north-western North America still faces a series of obstacles barely outlined in this essay. Prospects for major site-based works, with indigenous fruit trees in north-western North America, are a decade away. Today, possibilities for establishment of native fruit trees languish more in futurist imaginations and aesthetics. And yet the pressures continue to intensify for expanding stewardship, loss of biological diversity, carbon pollution, climate change, and the production of more nutritional food.

2022 conceptual configuration of a traditional W̱SÁNEĆ orchard, 2021 – 22 pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

VI.

native fruit tree cultivation as

aesthetic responses to ecological crises

“The view from above — like broad, planetary frames including the ‘Anthropocene’ — has a tendency to subsume particularities into totalities, with the risk of naturalizing, or depoliticizing, states of affairs along the way.”                                         Emily Eliza Scott 2015[189]

“Simply put, plants are not art. What we do with them, however we honor their life processes as part of creating ecological functions – that’s art.”

Benjamin Vogt 2017[190]

Most of the site-based and public artists involved with cultivation in the twentieth century were visionaries who saw massive ecological crises looming well before they were identified in popular culture. Most were hoping that conditions would not deteriorate as fast as they have. The art with fruit tree cultivation in the twenty-first century has often originated in contemporary anxieties around global change and distressed elements of life support. In this New World, cultivation in site-based art is increasingly view as responses to these crises.[191] The problem with crisis-centred theorizing on cultivation as part of art works, that deeper currents of these aesthetics, going back to indigenous and traditional cultures, on one hand, and alternatives to industrialism re-envisioned in the mid-twentieth century are often eclipsed.

As humanity experiences more of the unevenly distributed costs of dumping carbon into the atmosphere, art-making that fixes some of that pollution, including planting fruit trees, is attractive and logical. Over the last decade and a half, there has been a huge increase in responses to the vagaries and devastation of what McKenzie Wark terms the “Anthropocene”[192] and that other, notably Donna Haraway, have given a wider range of labels including “Capitalocene” and “Chthulucene.”[193]  These conceptions often bleed into older conceptions of “Apocalypse” that often involve divergent experiences between those that are Judeo-Christian and those that are more grounded in localized, indigenous cultures.[194] Fruit tree cultivation in the face of the excess of distressed carbon, as contemporary culture, involves a different set of social priorities, cultural perspectives, and aesthetics that the previously discussed recovery of indigenous and traditional orchards and the broader decolonization necessary to remove obstacles for survival of these groves.

Today, the ‘contract’ between humans, each other, and natural ecosystems is being re-naturalised catastrophically by capital. But there are counterforces especially the powers and limits of ecological relationships and processes, where Michel Serres noted, 

“[T]he Earth speaks to us in terms of forces, bonds, and interactions, and that’s enough to make a contract. Each of the partners in symbiosis thus owes, by rights, life to the other, on pain of death.”[195]

This somewhat primal contract over-rides part of contemporary globalization as T. J. Demos described as, “the current regime of resource colonialism, industrial ecocide, and the neoliberal agro-economy is socially and environmentally destructive, economically and politically unequal in the distribution of its negative effects, and historically rooted in paradigms of imperialism that go back centuries”[196]

Simply put, cultivation, as ways to sometimes fix carbon, could be part of resisting what Emily Eliza Scott termed above the subsuming of particularities.  Cultivation for both survival and artistic expression could keep people grounded in the face of mounting crises and inevitable losses.

As was discussed around land art, modern art briefly hosted some cultivation impulses in a score of sculptural and site-based works that were poorly understood at the time.[197] Beuys’s 1982 “7000 Eichen – Stadtverwaldung statt Stadtverwaltung  /  7000 Oaks – City Forestation Instead of City Administration” was the first large environmental work that involved a politicized artist who had a clear sense of the impending ravages of the Anthropocene. In the same period, Helen and Newton Harrison were creating works that were less didactic and focused more on creating earthworks that healed the land.[198] Concurrently, Mierle Laderman Ukeles highlighted huge issues of waste and recycling.[199]

In the face of the growing number of losses due to climate change, both cultivation and art-making remain under-valued form of human “labor”[200] even though blends of such practices could mitigate the perils of the new epoch. One set of practices for both of human survival and aesthetic intervention is carbon sequestration through the creation of more biomass as in living trees. But how to mobilize a necessary labour force and inspire the acquisition of new tools of human survival? Given the poor prospects of a massive new workforce of paid arborculturalists, contemporary art could provide one gateway for mobilization. And transfer of knowledge, especially from indigenous elders who often have experienced deep trauma from misappropriation of their knowledge and culture, remains fraught and daunting. Before credible new solutions can be communicated, a kind of cultivation-as-art related research is necessary. In 2015, Ashley Dawson proposed “networked research collectives”[201] especially scientists and artists researching climate change. And climate change, in turn, embodies synergies with other threats to the biosphere and humanity especially loss of biological diversity and toxic materials.

Over the last two decades as awareness of the massiveness of the changes and losses from carbon pollution, loss of biodiversity, and toxic are generating, so have the number of works involving trees, fruit, and cultivation. There has been a growing appreciation for the loss of genetic resources including wild and traditional fruit trees illustrated with the celebrated grafting of plum and cherries by artist Sam van Aken.[202] For more radical than celebrating old fruit tree varieties is the radical cultivation envisioned in the Planthroposcene movement that envisions less anthropocentric partnerships such as “Plant / People Conspiracies”[203] with photosynthesis the cheapest route to fixing carbon. There have been sardonic interventions into the pollinator crisis such as a cocktail book.[204] Moving into the second quarter of the twenty-first century, production of multimedia works to keep sites alive, often cultivating fruit trees,has gone from being exceptional to part of a recurring theme in contemporary culture.

2019 – 22 pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

VII.

conclusions & questions:

recombining fruit cultivation practice as new forms of organic multimedia art

“On behalf of the land and everything living on it, new image wars must be waged.”                                                            Lucy Lippard 2014[205]

“The tree planting enterprise provides a very simple but radical possibility…”

Joseph Beuys in conversation with Richard Demarco, 1982[206]

“We cannot carry out the kind of decolonization our Ancestors set in motion if we don’t create a generation of land-based, community-based intellectuals and cultural producers who are accountable to our nations and whose life work is concerned with the regeneration of these systems rather than meeting the overwhelming needs of the Western academic complex or attempting to ‘Indigenize the academy’ by bringing Indigenous Knowledge into the academy on the terms of the academy itself…The land must again become [italics] the pedagogy.” Leanne Betasamosake Simpson 2017[207]

Planting and enjoying a tree, and certainly recovering or creating an orchard, can be part of an aesthetic movement centred on what Emily Eliza Scott and Kirsten Swensen termed, “new representational and performative practices to reveal the social significance of hidden, or normalized, features inscribed in the land.”[208] New orchards of native fruit disrupt still partially colonial, colonized, neocolonial cognitive maps sometimes fostering forms of “experimental geography”[209] But in this milieu, the site-based, ecological practices employed by Beuys in the art-making near the end of his life, when he was also participating in some seminal movements in German politics, remains more the exception.

In this essay, I have outlined three sets of contemporary goals for cultivating native and traditional fruit trees as part of site-based works. First, indigenous communities are reasserting cultivation practices as part of recovering indigenous culture, stewardship, and territory. Secondly, cultivation of native and traditional fruit trees can be part of strategies for creatively challenging the remaining obstacles to decolonization within multicultural societies – barriers that are often still daunting. Thirdly, inclusion of the cultivation of native and traditional fruit trees can be part of expressing emotions around the losses associated with the Anthropocene and imagining possibilities of avoiding and healing some of the worst damage. But while more works with fruit trees fits into a half century arc of putting cultivation back into contemporary culture, many theoretical problems remain compounded by erasure, lack of knowledge and the ease of appropriation. More broadly, cultivation requires collaboration, and reskilling, in ways that are inherently inter-culture.

Much of the use of fruit trees in site-based works in the next two decades will involve just transmitting facts that had been erased especially about local communities, cultures, technology, species, and gene pools along with speculations on how cultivation could avert crises. But even communicating ideas of native fruit trees as solutions and refuges in the face of the Anthropocene is daunting. There are numerous points around which to creatively investigate from carbon sequestration of trees, ecological benefits for pollinators, and the nutritional contributions of the resulting fruit. Site-based works with native and traditional fruit trees become research and monitoring sites as much as challenges to impending losses. And these debates often have uncomfortable inter-cultural and demographic dimensions. But most artist is ill-equipped to engage in ethnographic research where,

“Some artists have used these opportunities to collaborate with communities innovatively: for instance, to recover suppressed histories that are sited in particular ways, that are accessed by some more effectively than others. But I am skeptical about effects of the pseudoethnographic role set up for the artist or assumed by him or her.”        Hal Foster 1995[210]

Foster’s essay has prefigured several decades of projects where unresolved power dynamics, with economic, resource, and educational disparities, and contests, have dominated collaborative art interventions. In this context, indigenous knowledge, culture and artists, other from traditional and other marginal communities outside of the global art economy, remain vulnerable. And how we acknowledge, challenge, and overcome these disparities becomes central to the enjoyment of and transmission of experience to such site-based works with fruit trees.

Throughout human existence, fruit and fruit trees, certain cultivation practices, have often had symbolic, as well as survival, value.  At times, fruit, trees, and certain acts of cultivation become mirrors of broader aspects of communities and cultures. If there was ever a time when the cultivation of trees could become central to contemporary culture it is after a century of more rapid and widespread losses of forest and woodland than at any other time in human history. With the rapid rise in atmospheric carbon, art that fixes some of that pollution back into living material is a demonstration of hope. If there was ever a time in history when recoveries from colonialism and neo-colonial, along with indigenous languages and traditional knowledge, can be the focus of nuanced aesthetic statements, it is now. And as food reserves dwindle and the costs of living increase, art that engages around, makes, and shares fruit becomes part of culture bordering on spiritual observance.

In the essay, I have outlined organic responses to three pressing global crises: erasure of traditional knowledge, language, techniques, and aesthetics; continued obstruction of indigenous stewardship over territories; and loss of biodiversity, natural ecosystems and agro-ecosystems accelerated by climate change. This destruction is happening rapidly and increasingly debilitates communities as much as it mobilizes them. How can new visions, strategies, and skills, in order to challenge these losses, be transmitted to the millions of people increasingly mobilized? One of the most effective routes to face and respond our contemporary vulnerabilities is through making and interacting with multimedia art, often transmitted digitally, as part of new aesthetics and ways to live in the world. So while recovering and expanding these established sets of indigenous, decolonial, and ecologically restorative skills, it is necessary to add in two additional movements:  “place-based practices”[211] and activism in public space that disrupts the propriety of both the state and private interests.  The beauty of fruit and trees can inspire and the interactions, interventions and patience necessary to successfully cultivate can invigorate.  Art focused seductively on fruit can become a gateway for seeing the power[212] that continues to destroy and erase communities.

Today, indigenous melancholy, common with fuller reckoning of the huge social, language and cultural losses of native communities, is profoundly divergent from Proust’s modernist, remembering and nostalgia. Cultivation, as homages to traditional links to land and communities, can be part of strategies to move on from the pain of those losses.  As for averting the greatest losses of the Anthropocene, interactive and site-based art involving living material is a gateway to reskilling a range of complex horticultural skills as part of locales, cultures and languages. Similarly, site-based interventions can be part of unlearning colonial aesthetics and re-reading the land as indigenous ecological legacies. And in a decolonizing global culture, why wouldn’t cultivation be as ceremonial and religious, and often encoded through aesthetics, as it is manual?

Today, there are few new orchards reparation and for biosphere repair. If new site-based works, with growing of local fruit, were to flourish, a host of questions will be investigated and debated. For example, the wild and traditional portions of these gene pools are still poorly assessed, throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. How many semi-domesticated landraces are there for these fruit trees? What are the full set of fruit tree names, vocabularies, practices, and ceremony in the scores of languages of the cultures that fostered fruit tree cultivation? Where are the remaining orchards and former sites? Of the answers to these questions, which information should stay with elders, their families, and First Nations and other local governments? What are all of the slim mentions of cultivation in the land art and Arte Povera movements? And while these essays have focused on three recent impulses for growing trees, recovery, decolonization, and averting losses, what are the other motives for cultivation in making contemporary art. Huge issues remain about appropriation and the control of information and aesthetics by the often struggling communities in which they originate? How can fruit tree growing as art also be homages without appropriating and collaborative while fully crediting communal cultural ownership? Can re-establishing indigenous and other local fruit tree cultivation contribute to recovery and retention of language, culture, ceremony, and infrastructure? Can wide-spread cultivation of fruit trees, especially on under-used and degraded land, contribute significant to carbon sequestration, reverse pollinator crises, and contribute to food sovereignty?

2022 pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

notes


[1]  Marcel Proust from “Under The Trees,” written in Dieppe in 1895, and included in his 1896 “Pleasures and Days. See page 145 in Marcel Proust. 2003. The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust. (Joachim Neugroschel [translation]  Roger Shattuck [introduction]). London: Rowman & Littlefield.

[2] Sonfist, Alan, Wolfgang Becker, and Robert Rosenblum. 2004. Nature, The End of Art: Environmental Landscapes. New York: Distributed Art Publishers and Landi, Ann. 2011. Separating the Trees from the Forest: Alan Sonfist has built a career as an urban land artist. ARTnews (Summer 2011) (POSTED 08/15/11 5:58 PM). http://www.artnews.com/2011/08/15/separating-the-trees-from-the-forest/

[3] Bourriaud, Nicholas. 2002 (1998). Relational Aesthetics. Simon Pleasance and Fonza Woods translators. Dijon, France: Les Presses du Réel.

[4]  Bourriaud first outlined relational aesthetics in his 2002 Relational Aesthetics plus two other essays from the same year (Nicolas Bourriaud. 2002. Postproduction: Culture as Screenplay: How Art Reprograms the World. Translated by Jeanine Herman. New York: Lukas & Sternberg. &  Nicolas Bourriaud. 2002. Touch: Relational Art from the 1990s to Now. San Francisco: San Francisco Art Institute.).

[5] The central roles of these four circumpolar, Northern Hemisphere  gene pools (apple/pear, cherry/plum/almond, hawthorn, and hazelnut) are well-described. See Renfrew, Jane M. 1973. Palaeoethnobotany: The Prehistoric Food Plants of the Near East and Europe. New York: Columbia University Press; Sauer, Jonathan D. 1993. Historical Geography of Crop Plants: A Select Roster. London: CRC Press; and Zohary, Daniel, Maria Hopf, and Ehud Weiss. 2012. Domestication of Plants in the Old World: The origin and spread of domesticated plants in Southwest Asia, Europe, and the Mediterranean Basin. Fourth Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.

[6] Routson, Kanin J., Gayle M. Volk, Christopher M. Richards, Steven E. Smith, Garry Paul Nabhan, and Victoria Whyllie de Echeverria. 2012. Genetic variation and distribution of Pacific crabapple. Journal of the American Society of Horticultural Science 137(5): 325 – 332. http://cals.arizona.edu/research/azalfalf/pdf_pubs/fusca_genetic_variation.pdf

[7] With a huge amount of historic and recent research on wild and traditional apple populations, the following articles illuminate some of the most relevant lines of investigation: Pollan, Michael. 1998. Breaking Ground: The Call of the Wild Apple. The New York Times (November 5, 1998); Robinson, S. P., S. A. Harris, and B. E. Juniper. 2001. Taxonomy of the genus Malus Mill. (Rosaceae) with emphasis on the cultivated apple, Malus domestica Borkh. Plant Systematics and Evolution 226(1-2): 35 – 58;  Coart, Xavier Vekemans, Marinus J M Smulders, Iris Wagner, Johan Van Huylenbroeck, and Erik Van Bockstaele. 2003. Genetic variation in the endangered wild apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill.) in Belgium as revealed by amplified fragment length polymorphism and microsatellite markers. Molecular Ecology 12(4):845-57; Coart, E, S Van Glabeke, M. De Loose,  A.S. Larsen, and I. Roldán-Ruiz. 2006. Chloroplast diversity in the genus Malus: new insights into the relationship between the European wild apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill.) and the domesticated apple (Malus domestica Borkh.). Molecular Ecology 15(8):2171-82. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16780433; Routson, Kanin J. 2012 Malus diversity in wild and agricultural systems. PhD diss. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona; Schnitzler, Annik, Claire Arnold, Amandine Cornille, Olivier Bachmann, and Christophe Schnitzler. 2014. Wild European Apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill.) Population Dynamics: Insight from Genetics and Ecology in the Rhine Valley. PLOS| One (May 14, 2014) http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0096596 and Glausiusz, Josie . 2014. Apples of Eden: Saving the Wild Ancestor of Modern Apples – The original apples still grow in Central Asia, but are threatened with extinction. National Geographic (MAY 09, 2014). http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/apples-of-eden-saving-the-wild-ancestor-of-modern-apples/

[8] Because of so much hybridization, Prunus taxonomies in North America are incomplete with some recent work for Europe: Hanelt, Peter. 1997.  European wild relatives of Prunus fruit crops. Bocconea 7: 401-408. http://www.herbmedit.org/bocconea/7-401.pdf In both Europe, especially Switzerland, and in North America, including in the Fraser Canyon, excavations of cherry pits have highlighted to archaeologists the central role of this fruit in diets and health. For example, see Pollmann, Britta, Stefanie Jacomet, and Angela Schlumbaum 2005. Morphological and genetic studies of waterlogged Prunus species from the Roman Vicus Tasgetium (Eschenz, Switzerland). Journal of Archaeological Science. 32(10):1471–1480. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440305000853 . Also see, Tavaud, M., A. Zanetto, J. L. David, F Laigret and E. Dirlewanger. 2004. Genetic relationships between diploid and allotetraploid cherry species (Prunus avium, Prunus x gondouinii and Prunus cerasus). Heredity 93(6): 631–638; Teeling, Claire. 2012. In situ conservation of wild cherry (Prunus avium L.) in Europe. Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham. http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/4390/; and Teeling, C., N. Maxted and B. V. Ford-Lloyd. 2012. The challenges of modelling species distribution: A case study of wild cherry (Prunus avium L.) in Europe. in Agrobiodiversity Conservation: Securing the Diversity of Crop Wild Relatives and Landraces. Nigel Maxted, Mohammad E. Dulloo, Brian V. Ford-Lloyd, Lothar Frese, Jose M. Iriondo, and Miguel A. A. Pinheiro de Carvalho. Egham, Surrey UK: CABI. 29 – 35.

[9] With only two very similar species of hazelnuts or filberts, both cultivated and wild with one in North America and the other in Eurasia, contemporary research is slow and is mostly more in plant ecology rather than crop studies such as in the following discussion: Campa, Ana, Noemí Trabanco, Elena Pérez-Vega1, Mercé Rovira and Juan J. Ferreira. 2011. Genetic relationship between cultivated and wild hazelnuts (Corylus avellana L.) collected in northern Spain. Plant Breeding 130(3): 360–366. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1439-0523.2010.01835.x/abstract

[10] For an animation of the shifting land mass of Beringia throughout the latter part of the last ice age and more recently as it was submerged by rising seas, see Manley, W.F., 2002, Postglacial Flooding of the Bering Land Bridge: A Geospatial Animation: INSTAAR, University of Colorado, v1, http://instaar.colorado.edu/QGISL/bering_land_bridge .

[11] Concetta Burgarella, Adeline Barnaud, Ndjido Ardo Kane, Frédérique Jankowski, Nora Scarcelli, Claire Billot, Yves Vigouroux, and Cécile Berthouly-Salazar. 2019. Adaptive Introgression: An Untapped Evolutionary Mechanism for Crop Adaptation. Frontiers of Plant Science (01 February 2019). https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2019.00004/full For one example of the many forms of apple introgression, see, Coart, E, S Van Glabeke, M. De Loose,  A.S. Larsen, and I. Roldán-Ruiz. 2006. Chloroplast diversity in the genus Malus: new insights into the relationship between the European wild apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill.) and the domesticated apple (Malus domestica Borkh.). Molecular Ecology 15(8):2171-82. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16780433

[12] Hajjar, Reem and Toby Hodgkin. 2007. The use of wild relatives in crop improvement: A survey of developments over the last 20 years. Euphytica 156: 1 – 13 and Kole, Chittaranjan (editor). 2011. Wild Crop Relatives: Genomic and Breeding Resources – Temperate Fruits. New York: Springer.

[13] An introduction to the conceptual framework of indigenous ecological legacies is sketched in, Mann, Charles C. 2005. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. New York: Knopf. For a seminal essay for investigating indigenous plant domestication legacies around the Salish Sea, see Suttles, Wayne P. 2005 Coast Salish Resource Management: Incipient Agriculture? in Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America. Douglas Deur and Nancy J Turner (eds.). 181 – 93. Seattle: University of Washington Press. For further investigations of the evolution of fruit trees around the Salish Sea, see Suttles, Wayne P. 1974. Coast Salish and Western Washington Indians: The Economic Life of the Coast Salish of Haro and Rosario Straits. New York: Garland; Moss, Madonna L, Dorthy M Peteet, and Cathy Whitlock. 2007. Mid-Holocene culture and climate on the Northwest coast of North America. in Climate Change and Cultural Dynamics: A Global Perspective on Mid-Holocene Transitions. David G. Anderson, Kirk A Maasch and Daniel H Sandweiss (editors). 491 – 529. San Diego: Elsevier and Academic Press; Dana Lepofsky and Kenneth P. Lertzman’s 2008 Documenting ancient plant management in the Northwest of North America (Botany 86: 129 – 145); Meltzer, David J. 2009. First Peoples in a New World: Colonizing Ice Age America. Berkeley, California: University of California Press and. Senos, Rene, Frank Lake, Nancy J Turner, and Dennis Martinez. 2006. Traditional ecological knowledge and restoration practice in the Pacific Northwest. in Encyclopedia for Restoration of Pacific Northwest Ecosystems. Dean Apostal (editor). Washington DC: Island. 393 – 426.

[14] The following are two key discussions on domestication processes as part of human political economies and culture: Renfrew, Jane M. 1973. Palaeoethnobotany: The Prehistoric Food Plants of the Near East and Europe and Zohary, Daniel, Maria Hopf, and Ehud Weiss. 2012. Domestication of Plants in the Old World.

[15] Turner, Nancy J., Łukasz Jakub Łuczaj, Paola Migliorini, Andrea Pieroni, Angelo Leandro Dreon, Linda Enrica Sacchetti, and Maurizio G. Paoletti. 2011. Edible and Tended Wild Plants, Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Agroecology. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 30: 198–225. See pages 216 and 217.

[16] Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner. 2005. in Introduction: Reconstructing indigenous resource management, Reconstructing the history of an idea. Keeping It Living. 3 – 34. See page 3.

[17] Routson, Kanin J., Gayle M. Volk, Christopher M. Richards, Steven E. Smith, Garry Paul Nabhan, and Victoria Whyllie de Echeverria. 2012. Genetic variation and distribution of Pacific crabapple. Journal of the American Society of Horticultural Science 137(5): 325 – 332. http://cals.arizona.edu/research/azalfalf/pdf_pubs/fusca_genetic_variation.pdf  See page 328 plus herbarium samples from parts of California more southerly and inland, extending to the Cascade Range Foothills and the Sierra Nevada foothills, described in

http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_cpn.pl?Malus%20fusca  including

http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/new_detail.pl?RSA86807

Consortium of California Herbaria (on file Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden:

Specimen number: RSA86807; Determination: Malus fusca; More information: Jepson Online Interchange;  Collector, number, date F. W. Peirson, 1991, Jul 10 1908; County Tulare;  Locality: Divide between Nelson and the Little Kern River, Seirra Nevada.

[18] Wyllie de Echeverria. 2013. Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca) on the North Coast of British Columbia: Knowledge and Meaning in Gitga’at Culture. Thesis for a MASTER OF SCIENCE in the School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, British Columbia. 2013-05-07 http://hdl.handle.net/1828/4596. See page 4 and  Routson et al. 2012. Genetic variation and distribution of Pacific crabapple.. See pages 329 and 330.

[19] Wyllie de Echeverria. 2013. Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca) on the North Coast of British Columbia. See abstract.

[20] Wyllie de Echeverria. 2013. Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca) on the North Coast of British Columbia. See abstract.

[21] At least part of the diversity of crabapples in the region is phenotypic and related to site and cultural variation. Wyllie de Echeverria  noted that, “Each variety was said to grow in different parts of the estuary and river system at the fall harvesting camp, but several of these variety-specific areas were located relatively closely to each other (i.e. within 100 m). Moolks found outside these specific harvesting locations were often classified as the sm-moolks variety, since sm-moolks refers generally to any moolks not classified as being in one of the other four varieties.” (Wyllie de Echeverria. 2013. Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca) on the North Coast of British Columbia: Knowledge and Meaning in Gitga’at Culture. See page 55.  Phenotypic variation is also suggested by the details provided by elder, Elizabeth Dundas, in her discussion of transplanting of a type of crab-apple (Wyllie de Echeverria. 2013 See page 62.)

[22] Wyllie de Echeverria. 2013. Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca) on the North Coast of British Columbia: Knowledge and Meaning in Gitga’at Culture. See pages 101 and 102. Then she elaborated on the Asian affinities noting, “”Based on molecular evidence, the most recent classification scheme places M. fusca in Section Sorbomalus, Series Kansuensis…” This portion of the apple gene pool also includes the species M. kansuensis (Batalin) C.K. Schneid., M. toringoides (Rehder) Hughes, and M. transitoria (Batalin) C.K. Schneid. (Robinson et al., 2001), all of which are native to Asia.” See page 102.

[23] ibid. See page 2.

[24] ibid. See pages 60 – 64.

[25] ibid. See page 54.

[26] ibid. See page 92.

[27] ibid. See pages 94 to 100.

[28] ibid. See pages 38 and 39.

[29] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). New York: Random House. See page 209.

[30] Jacques, Dominique, Kristine Vandermijnsbrugge, Sébastein Lemaire, Adriana Antofie and Marc Lateur. 2009. Natural Distribution and Variability of Wild Apple (Malus Sylvestris) in Belgium. Belgian Journal of Botany 142(1): 39-49. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20794670 and Iris Wagner, W.D. Maurer, P. Lemmen, H.P. Schmitt, M. Wagner, M. Binder and P. Patzak. 2017. Hybridization and Genetic Diversity in Wild Apple (Malus sylvestris (L.) MILL) from Various Regions in Germany and from Luxembourg. Silvae Genetica 63(3):81-94. https://www.sciendo.com/article/10.1515/sg-2014-0012#

[31] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See page  210.

[32] Marcel Proust. (1913) 2002. Swann’s Way. (Lydia Davis translation). New York: Penguin. See page 149. For another of Proust’s description of an apple orchard, see Marcel Proust. 2003 (1993, 1919) Within A Budding Grove. (In Search of Lost Time Volume II). (C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin, and D. J. Enright translators). New York: Random House / Modern Library. pages 390 and 391.

[33] Marcel Proust. 2003 (1992, 1921). The Guermantes Way. (In Search of Lost Time Volume III). (C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin, and D. J. Enright translators). New York: Random House / Modern Library. See 203 – 212.

[34] Marcel Proust. (1913) 2002. Swann’s Way. (Lydia Davis translation). See page 189.

[35] Proust, Marcel. 1956. Swann’s Way. (C. K. Scott Moncrieff trans.). See page 497.

[36] Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner. 2005. in Introduction: Reconstructing indigenous resource management, Reconstructing the history of an idea. in Keeping It Living.  3 – 34. See page 3 to 27 especially page 8.

[37] James McDonald. 2005. Cultivating in the Northwest: Early accounts of Tsimshian horticulture. In Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America. 240 – 73.

[38] Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner. 2005. in Introduction: Reconstructing indigenous resource management, Reconstructing the history of an idea. in Keeping It Living. 3 – 34. See pages 22.

[39] Nancy J. Turner. 2014. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume One. Montreal: McGill – Queen’s University Press. See pages 229 – 230.

[40] Wyllie de Echeverria, Victoria Rawn. 2013. Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca) on the North Coast of British Columbia: Knowledge and Meaning in Gitga’at Culture. See pages 40 to 42 and 56 to 60.

[41] Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner. 2005. Conclusions. in Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America. 331 – 342. See page 336.

[42] Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner. 2005. in Introduction: Reconstructing indigenous resource management, Reconstructing the history of an idea. in Keeping It Living. 3 – 34. See page 27.

[43] Nancy J. Turner, Robin Smith, and James T. Jones. 2005. “A fine line between two nations” Ownership patterns for plant resources among Northwest Coast indigenous peoples. in Keeping It Living. 151 – 178. See pages 172 – 73.

[44] ibid. See pages 172 – 73.

[45] One of the more documented of these First Nations efforts to protect traditional orchards was in British Columbia in the submissions to 1913-16 McKenna-McBride Royal Commission. (Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner. 2005. in Introduction: Reconstructing indigenous resource management, Reconstructing the history of an idea. Keeping It Living. 3 – 34. See page 28.)

[46] Nancy J. Turner. 2014. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume One. See pages 228 – 9.

[47] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. See pages 149 – 50 .

[48] Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner. 2005. in Introduction: Reconstructing indigenous resource management, Reconstructing the history of an idea. in Keeping It Living. 3 – 34. See page 3 to 27.

[49] ibid. See page 14.

[50] ibid. See pages 3 to 8.

[51] In north-western North America, few First Nations ever really stopped stewardship over their territories. But before the 1960s, indigenous governments and family had to be stealth to avoid racist laws and violence. In the second half of the twentieth century, there were increasing instances of public challenges extending to blockades. As a child in a Métis family, that travelled across north-western Canada for century, and growing up in a majority W̱SÁNEĆ (Salish) community, I was part of W̱JOȽEȽP (Tsartlip) programs for children as part of rebuilding their educational infrastructure after evicting a Jesuit day school for Indians that was later the subject of a number of successful trials about horrific sexual abuse. Part of that early education of mine, parallel to Grades 1 to 3 elementary school education, saw some of the stewardship, management, and cultivation practices mentioned in this essay.

[52] Wyllie de Echeverria. 2013. Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca) on the North Coast of British Columbia: Knowledge and Meaning in Gitga’at Culture. See page 47.

[53] ibid. See page 48.

[54] Nancy J. Turner. 2014. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume One. See page 273.

[55] Nancy J. Turner. 2014. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume One. See page 65.

[56] Nancy J. Turner. 2014. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume One. Montreal: McGill – Queen’s University Press. See page 71.

[57] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See page 123.

[58] Nancy J. Turner. 2014. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume One. See page 273.

[59] ibid. See pages 302 – 3.

[60] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See page 437.

[61] Nancy J. Turner. 2014. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume One. See page 424.

[62] Nancy J. Turner and Sandra Peacock. 2005. Solving the perennial paradox: Ethnobotanical evidence for plant resource management on the Northwest Coast. in Keeping It Living. 101 – 150. See page 115. Also see, Nancy J. Turner. 2014. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume One pages 99 and 108-10.

[63] Nancy J. Turner. 2014. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume One. See page 273.

[64] ibid. See pages 294 – 5 and 345.

[65] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See page 124.

[66] ibid.

[67] ibid. See page 437 with note 32.

[68] ibid.

[69] Nancy J. Turner. 2014. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume One. See page 272.

[70] ibid. See page 136.

[71] ibid. See page 307.

[72] Nancy J. Turner and Sandra Peacock. 2005. Solving the perennial paradox: Ethnobotanical evidence for plant resource management on the Northwest Coast. in Keeping It Living. 101 – 150. See page 147.

[73] ibid. See pages 118 – 19.

[74] Nancy J. Turner and Sandra Peacock. 2005. Solving the perennial paradox: Ethnobotanical evidence for plant resource management on the Northwest Coast. in Keeping It Living. 101 – 150. See page 117.

[75] For the Haisla, Pruning was done in two ways. First, the trees were pruned to strip away old spent branches and to stimulate new growth. “Old people would [then] cut the branches from the top…this would ensure that there were lots next year…just cut the ones that had lots of fruit, not all of them” (Davis, A with B. Wilson, and B. Compton. 1995. Salmonberry Blossoms in the New Year. Some Culturally Significant Plants of the Haisla Known to Occur Within the Greater Kitlope Ecosystems. Kitamaat, British Columbia: Nanakila Press. See page 29 and Turner, N.J., and S. Peacock. 2005. Solving the Perennial Paradox: Ethnobotanical Evidence for Plant Resource Management on the Northwest Coast. In Keeping It Living. 101-50. See page 121 and James McDonald. 2005. Cultivating in the Northwest: Early accounts of Tsimshian horticulture. In Keeping It Living. 240 – 73. See page 251. Also see, Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See pages 196 – 98.

[76] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See page 189.

[77] Nancy J. Turner and Sandra Peacock. 2005. Solving the perennial paradox: Ethnobotanical evidence for plant resource management on the Northwest Coast. in Keeping It Living. 101 – 150. See pages 120 – 24.

[78] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See pages 211 – 212.

[79] Wyllie de Echeverria. 2013. Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca) on the North Coast of British Columbia: Knowledge and Meaning in Gitga’at Culture. See page 37.

[80] James McDonald. 2005. Cultivating in the Northwest: Early accounts of Tsimshian horticulture. In Keeping It Living. 240 – 73. See page 251.

[81] Nancy J. Turner, Douglas Deur, and Dana Lepofsky. 2013. Plant management systems of British Columbia’s first peoples. BC Studies 179: 107 – 33. See pages 123 and Nancy J. Turner and Sandra Peacock. 2005. Solving the perennial paradox: Ethnobotanical evidence for plant resource management on the Northwest Coast. in Keeping It Living. 101 – 150. See pages 126 and 27.

[82] Some research by Richard Hebda describes indications of burning going back to 5,000 bp though widespread ecological impacts are more definitive by the late Holocene (3,000 bp to present). (Nancy J. Turner. 2014. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume One. Montreal: McGill – Queen’s University Press. See pages 82.)

[83] To stimulate growth, Native hazelnut groves were sometimes burned on the Gulf Islands. Nancy J. Turner and Sandra Peacock. 2005. Solving the perennial paradox: Ethnobotanical evidence for plant resource management on the Northwest Coast. in Keeping It Living. 101 – 150. See page 140.

[84] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See pages 198 and 214 to 2177.

[85] Nancy J. Turner and Sandra Peacock. 2005. Solving the perennial paradox: Ethnobotanical evidence for plant resource management on the Northwest Coast. in Keeping It Living. 101 – 150. See page 127. For a  more regional overview of burning, see Lepofsky, Dana and Kenneth P. Lertzman. 2005 Documenting pre-contact plant management on the Northwest Coast. An example of prescribed burning in the central and upper Fraser Valley, British Columbia. in Keeping it Living. 218 – 39.

[86] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See page 198.

[87] James McDonald. 2005. Cultivating in the Northwest: Early accounts of Tsimshian horticulture. In Keeping It Living. pages 240 – 73. See page 250.

[88] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See page 189.

[89] In north-western North-America at least three tree species were regularly transplanted: saskatoon berry, hazelnut, and red cedar. ibid. See pages 203 – 4 and page 365.

[90] Wyllie de Echeverria. 2013. Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca) on the North Coast of British Columbia: Knowledge and Meaning in Gitga’at Culture. See pages 38 and 39.

[91] James McDonald. 2005. Cultivating in the Northwest: Early accounts of Tsimshian horticulture. In Keeping It Living. 240 – 73.

[92] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See pages 189 and 365.

[93] Nancy J. Turner and Sandra Peacock. 2005. Solving the perennial paradox: Ethnobotanical evidence for plant resource management on the Northwest Coast. in Keeping It Living. 101 – 150. See page 101.

[94] Kenneth M. Ames. 2005.Intensification of food production on the Northwest Coast and elsewhere. in Keeping It Living. 67 – 100. See pages 67 and 75.

[95] Wyllie de Echeverria. 2013. Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca) on the North Coast of British Columbia: Knowledge and Meaning in Gitga’at Culture. See pages 40 – 42 and 56 to 60.

[96] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See page 212.

[97] “[Apple] Fruit is distributed by animal vectors…including humans.”  Victoria Wyllie de Echeverria. 2013. Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca) on the North Coast of British Columbia: Knowledge and Meaning in Gitga’at Culture. See page 104.

[98] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See pages 189 and 206.

[99] Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner. 2005. in Introduction: Reconstructing indigenous resource management, Reconstructing the history of an idea. in Keeping It Living. 3 – 34. See pages 16 – 17.

[100] James McDonald. 2005. Cultivating in the Northwest: Early accounts of Tsimshian horticulture. In Keeping It Living. 240 – 73. See page 246.

[101] Nancy J. Turner and Sandra Peacock. 2005. Solving the perennial paradox: Ethnobotanical evidence for plant resource management on the Northwest Coast. in Keeping It Living. 101 – 150. See page 133.

[102] ibid. See page 127.

[103] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See page 91.

[104] Nancy J. Turner and Sandra Peacock. 2005. Solving the perennial paradox: Ethnobotanical evidence for plant resource management on the Northwest Coast. in Keeping It Living. 101 – 150. See pages 130 – 32.

[105] ibid. See pags 132 – 34.

[106] Nancy J. Turner, Robin Smith, and James T. Jones. 2005. “A fine line between two nations” Ownership patterns for plant resources among Northwest Coast indigenous peoples. in Keeping It Living. 151 – 178. See page 154.

[107] ibid. See page 153.

[108] Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner. 2005. in Introduction: Reconstructing indigenous resource management, Reconstructing the history of an idea. Keeping It Living. 3 – 34. See page 19.

[109] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See page 189.

[110] Nancy J. Turner, Robin Smith, and James T. Jones. 2005. “A fine line between two nations” Ownership patterns for plant resources among Northwest Coast indigenous peoples. in Keeping It Living. pages 151 – 178. See page 153.

[111] ibid. See page 152.

[112] ibid. See page 151.

[113] ibid. See page 166.

[114] ibid. See page 167.

[115] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See pages 90 and 91 .

[116] ibid.

[117] Nancy J. Turner, Robin Smith, and James T. Jones. 2005. “A fine line between two nations” Ownership patterns for plant resources among Northwest Coast indigenous peoples. in Keeping It Living. 151 – 178. See page 175.

[118] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See page 345.

[119] ibid. See page 212 -14.

[120] ibid. See page 271.

[121] ibid. See page 306.

[122] ibid. See page 264.

[123] ibid. See page 344.

[124] ibid. See page 272.

[125] The source for the Coyote and Grizzly Bear and the Mosquito stories was “Paul” who lived near the infamous St. Eugène Mission in south-eastern British Columbia and who shared them in 1891. (Franz Boas editor. 1918. Kutenai Tales. Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 59. Washington: Government Printing Office. See pages v, 5 to 8, and 25 and 26.)

[126] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See page 290.

[127] Lucy R. Lippard. 1998. The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society. New York: The New Press. See page 72.

[128] Nancy J. Turner. 2014 Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Volume Two – The Place and Meaning of Plants in Indigenous Cultures and Worldviews. See pages 410 – 11.

[129] Smithson, Robert. 1973 (1996). Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape. in Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings. Jack Flam (ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. 157–171. See page 160.  http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic641765.files/Smithson%20-%20Frederick%20Law%20Olmsted%20and%20the%20Dialectical%20Landscape.pdf

[130] Lippard, Lucy R. 2014. Undermining: A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West. New York: The New Press. See page See page 88.

[131] Viegener, Matias. 2015. Speculative Futures: Social practice, cognitive capitalism and / or the triumph of capital. in Informal Market Worlds: The Architecture of Economic Pressure. Peter Mörtenböeck and Helge Mooshammer (eds.). Rotterdam: nai010.

http://mviegener.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Viegener-Matias-Speculative-Futures-Social-Practice-Cognitive-Capitalism-andor-the-Triumph-of-Capital.pdf

[132] Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art . 2015. A Film by James Crump Featuring Germano Celant, Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt, Vito Acconci, Virginia Dwan, Charles Ross, Paula Cooper, Willoughby Sharp, Pamela Sharp, Lawrence Weiner, Carl Andre, Gianfranco Gorgoni and Harald Szeemann. Running time 72 minutes. Summitridge Pictures and RSJC LLC. http://troublemakersthefilm.com/about/ Also see, Su Wu. 2015. A New Documentary Sheds Light on the ‘Troublemakers’ of Land Art. New York Times (MAY 4, 2015).  http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/04/land-art-smithson-holt-heizer-troublemakers-movie/?_r=0

[133] Suzaan Boettger. 2002. Earthworks: Art and the Landscape of the Sixties. Berkeley: University of California Press. See pages 184 to 225.

[134] Lippard, Lucy R. 2014. Undermining: A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West. See page 87.

[135] Smithson, Robert. 1966 (1996). Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape. in Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings. 157–171. See page 160.

[136] Suzaan Boettger. 2002. Earthworks. See page 207.

[137] Lippard, Lucy R. 2014. Undermining. See page 83.

[138] Lippard, Lucy R. 2014. Undermining. See page 89.

[139] Mignolo, Walter and Rolando Vázquez. 2013. Decolonial AestheSis: Colonial Wounds/Decolonial Healings. Social Text: Periscope (July 15th, 2013).

[140] Lippard, Lucy R. 2014. Undermining. See pages 81 to 93.

[141] Lippard, Lucy R. 2014. Undermining. See page 90.

[142] Demos, T. J. 2015. Decolonizing Nature: Making the World Matter. Social Text Periscope (2015 March 8 Radical Materialism issue) : 14 – 25.  See page 15.

[143] Suzaan Boettger. 2002. Earthworks. Page 66.

[144] Lauder, Adam. 2015. Glue Pour, 1970: Robert Smithson’s Vancouver sojourn. Canadian Art (Summer 2015): 90 – 94. See page 92.

[145] Jeffrey Kastner and Brian Wallis (editors). 2005 (1998). Land and Environmental Art. London: Phaidon. See pages 96 – 97.

[146] Lauder, Adam. 2015. Glue Pour, 1970: Robert Smithson’s Vancouver sojourn. See pages 90 and 91. In addition, I reviewed the photographic documentation of the event, taken by Vancouver artist Christos Dikeakos, in 2011.

[147] “One of the reasons Smithson still seems so relevant is that his work responded so directly to a nostalgic trend that arose in both American studies and American environmentalism during the 1950s and 1960s. On the whole, it was a nostalgia for nineteenth-century pastoralism…To counteract this elegiac tendency Smithson developed a “toxic discourse” in which he treated the nineteenth-century landscape as a totally engineered prototype for the twentieth.” Menard, Andrew. 2014. Robert Smithson’s Toxic Tour of Passaic, New Jersey. Journal of American Studies 48(04):1019-1040.  See abstract.

[148] Smithson, Robert. 1973 (1996). Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape in Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings. 157–171.

[149] Mbembe’s conceptions of the multiple links between colonialism and violence was first outlined in a 1990 essay (Achille Mbembe. 1990. Pouvoir, violence et accumulation. Politique africaine 39: 7 – 24.) and this expanded in subsequent translations such as, Mbembe, Achille. 2001 On the Postcolony. A. M. Berrett, Janet Roitman, Murray Last, Achille Mbembe, Steven Rendall (translators). Berkeley: University of California Press.

[150]  Kwon, Miwon. 2002. One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge UK: The MIT Press. See page 28.

[151] Dennis Oppenheim, “Directed Seeding” and “Cancelled Crop 1969 Wheatfield, harvester 267 metres x 154 metres, Finisterwolde, Holland. in Jeffrey Kastner and Brian Wallis (editors). 2005 (1998). Land and Environmental Art. London: Phaidon. See pages 50, 186, and 189.

[152] Hans Haacke “Fog, Flooding, Erosion” 1969, Seattle and Hans Haacke “Rhine-Water Purification Plant 1972, Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld in Jeffrey Kastner and Brian Wallis (editors). 2005 (1998). Land and Environmental Art. See pages 139 and 141. And for context, see Nisbet, James. 2014. Ecologies, Environments, and Energy Systems in Art of the 1960s and 1970s. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

[153] Jeffrey Kastner and Brian Wallis (editors). 2010. Land and Environmental Art. See page 142.

[154] See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Landscape; Sonfist, Alan, Wolfgang Becker, and Robert Rosenblum. 2004. Nature, The End of Art: Environmental Landscapes. New York: Distributed Art Publishers and Landi, Ann. 2011. Separating the Trees from the Forest: Alan Sonfist has built a career as an urban land artist. ARTnews (Summer 2011) (POSTED 08/15/11 5:58 PM). http://www.artnews.com/2011/08/15/separating-the-trees-from-the-forest/

[155] Beuys, Joseph. 1982. 7000 Eichen – Stadtverwaldung statt Stadtverwaltung  /  7000 Oaks – City Forestation Instead of City Administration. Kassel, Hesse: documenta 7 and Beuys, Joseph. 1982. Richard Demarco, “Conversations with Artists.” Studio International 195 (996) (September 1982): 46.

[156] Jeffrey Kastner and Brian Wallis (editors). 2010. Land and Environmental Art. See pages 162-3 (“The Meadow” 1986 – present).

[157] Jeffrey Kastner and Brian Wallis (editors). 2010. Land and Environmental Art. See page 168 (Revival Field, Pig’s Eye Landfill 1990-3).

[158] Oliver Kellhammer. n.d. Botanical Interventions-Open Source Landscape and Community Repair. http://www.oliverk.org/sites/default/files/live.pdf

[159] Benner, Ron. 2008. Gardens of a Colonial Present / Jardins d’un Present Colonial. London, Ontario: London Museum.

[160] Linklater, Duane. 2012. Untitled (A Blueberry Garden for Bard College). 12 blueberry bushes, garden implements, soil, mulch, wood, rope. Variable dimensions. http://www.duanelinklater.com/index.php?/a-blueberry-garden-/  

[161] Ingram, Gordon Brent. 2013. Repopulating contentious territory: Recent strategies for indigenous North-west Coast site-based & public art. FUSE (Toronto) 36(4): 7 – 8.

[162] Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2017. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. See pages 203 – 205.

[163] Jordan Abel. 2014 Un/Inhabited. Vancouver: Talon / Project Space. See page 58.

[164] Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill and Sophie McCall. 2015. Introduction. in The Land We Are: Artists and Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation. Gabrielle Hill and Sophie McCall (editors). 1 – 19. Winnipeg: ARP Books. See page 12.

[165] Jeannine Tang. 2015. Look again: Subjectivity, sovereignty, and Andrea Geyer’s “Spiral Lands.”in Critical Landscapes: Art, Space, Politics. Emily Eliza Scott & Kirsten Swenson (eds). Berkeley: University of California Press. 93 – 109. See page 95.

[166] Kimmerer, Robin Wall. 2013. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Milkweed Editions. See page ix.

[167] Kimmerer, Robin Wall. 2013. Braiding Sweetgrass. See page 384.

[168] Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2017. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. See page 196.

[169] Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2017. As We Have Always Done. See page 208.

[170] Dylan Robinson and Keren Zaiontz. 2015. Public art in Vancouver and the civic infrastructure of redress. in The Land We Are: Artists and Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation. Gabrielle Hill and Sophie McCall (editors). 22 – 51. Winnipeg: ARP Books. See page 48.

[171] Alice McSherry, Paul Moss, and Amba J. Sepie. 2021. Eating the Sun. e-flux (August 2021).

https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/survivance/411277/eating-the-sun/

[172] ibid.

[173] Cuauhtémoc Medina. 2005. High curios. in Brian Jugen. (Brian Jugen & Daina Augaitis authors). Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre / Vancouver Art Gallery. 27 – 39. See pages 35 – 37.

[174] Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2017. As We Have Always Done. See pages 200 to 210.

[175] Altieri, Miguel A. 2018 (1987, 1995). Agroecology: The Science Of Sustainable Agriculture (Second Edition Paperback). Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

[176] The most important of the original documents on permaculture, effectively manifestoes, outline Mollison’s partial critiques of colonial Australian agriculture: Mollison, Bill. 1988. Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual. Stanley, Tasmania: Tagari Publications and Mollison, Bill. 1979. Permaculture Two: Practical Design for Town and Country in Permanent Agriculture. Stanley, Tasmania: Tagari Publications.

[177] The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination. 2009. 13 Attitudes. 9th Experiment: C.R.A.S.H: A post capitalist A to Z. London: https://www.degrowth.info/fr/library/13-attitudes  

[178] Kelly, Caleb and Ross Gibson. 2010. Contemporary Art & The Noise of TENDING. Interference A Journal of Audio Culture (Dublin) 4. http://www.interferencejournal.org/the-noise-of-tending/

[179] Reynolds, Richard. 2008. Guerrilla Gardening. London: Bloomsbury.

[180] Lonny Shavelson. 2012. Guerrilla Grafters Bring Forbidden Fruit Back To City Trees. National Public Radio (April 7, 2012).

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/04/07/150142001/guerrilla-grafters-bring-forbidden-fruit-back-to-city-trees

[181] Burns, David, Matias Viegener and Austin Young. 2005. FALLENFRUIT Manifesto. http://www.fallenfruit.org/wp-content/uploads/FF-manifesto-handout.pdf . Also see, Goodyear, Dana. 2012.  Eat A Free Peach: Mapping “Public Fruit.” The New Yorker (March 12, 2012). http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/eat-a-free-peach-mapping-public-fruit

[182] Thompson, Claire. 2012. Into the woods: Seattle plants a public food forest. Grist. http://grist.org/urban-agriculture/into-the-woods-seattle-plants-a-public-food-forest/

[183] Kent’s Flora domestica effectively jump-started the modern urban ecology movement (Kent, Elizabeth. 1823. Flora domestica, Or, The portable flower-garden: with directions for the treatment of plants in pots and illustrations from the works of the poets. London: Taylor and Hessey. https://archive.org/details/floradomesticaor00kent). Daisy Hay recorded Elizabeth Kent’s presence in the Young Romantics in Geneva in her late 20s as one of the oldest females in the group (Hay. Daisy. 2010. Young Romantics: The Tangled Lives of English Poetry’s Greatest Generation. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. See pages 284 – 287]).

[184] Germano Celant. 1967. Arte Povera: Notes on a guerrilla war. Flash Art 5 (November–December 1967). https://flash—art.com/article/germano-celant-arte-povera-notes-on-a-guerrilla-war/ . Also see Celant, Germano. 2011 Arte Povera: Histories and Protagonists. Milan: Electa

[185] ART: Arte Povera. http://www.dreamideamachine.com/?p=968 (2022 February 9)

[186] Boscagli, Maurizia. 2014. Stuff Theory: Everyday Objects, Radical Materialism.  New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

[187] The dearth of outdoor, site-based installations with living materials in the seminal 1967 – 75 works of Arte Povera was confirmed through reviewing the following catalogues: Celant, Germano, Tommaso Trini, Jean-Christophe Amman, Harald Szeemann and Ida Gianelli. 2001. Arte povera. Milan: Charta; Christov-Bakargiev, Carolyn. 2005. Arte Povera. London: Phaidon; Flood, Richard, and Morris, Frances. 2001. Zero to infinity: Arte povera 1962-1972. London: Tate Publishing; Lista, Giovanni. 2006. L’Arte Povera. Milano: Cinq Continents Éditions; and Lumley, Robert. 2004. Arte Povera. London: Tate Publishing.

[188] Honoré, Tiphaine. 2012. Agroforestry, the traditional practice of growing crops around trees, is regaining popularity in parts of France. Guardian [London] (21 August, 2012).

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/aug/21/agroforestry-france-farming-revival

[189] Eliza, Emily. 2015. Earth Seeing. Social Text Periscope (2015 March 8 Radical Materialism issue). http://socialtextjournal.org/periscope_article/earth-seeing/

[190] Benjamin Vogt. 2017. A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future. Gabriola Island, British Columbia: New Society. See page 12.

[191] New kinds of theorizing for these site-based works increasingly view these aesthetic currents as responses to crises. See Natural World Museum. 2007. Art in Action: Nature, Creativity, and Our Collective Future. San Rafael, California: Earth Aware Editions and Paul Ardenne. 2018. Un Art Écologique – Création Plasticienne Et Anthropocène. Brussels: Bord De L’eau / La Muette.

[192] Wark, Mckenzie. 2015. Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene. London: Verso.

[193] Donna Haraway. 2016. Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene. e-flux journal 75.

https://www.e-flux.com/journal/75/67125/tentacular-thinking-anthropocene-capitalocene-chthulucene/

[194] Marques, Pedro Neves. 2015. SUPERCOMMUNITY – Look Above, the Sky is Falling: Humanity Before and After the End of the World.  e-flux journal 56th Venice Biennale (Apocalypsis, May 23rd 2015—Day 14).

https://www.e-flux.com/journal/65/336645/look-above-the-sky-is-falling-humanity-before-and-after-the-end-of-the-world/

[195] Michel Serres. 1995. The Natural Contract [1990]. Elizabeth MacArthur and William Paulson translators. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. See page 39. http://www.mara-stream.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Michel-Serres_The-Natural-Contract-Michel-Serres.pdf

[196] Demos, T. J. 2015. Decolonizing Nature: Making the World Matter.

[197] Suzaan Boettger. 2002. See pages 185-8.

[198] Keats, Jonathon. 2018. Eco-Art Or Science? Helen And Newton Harrison Are Sculpting Earth Systems To Endure Climate Change. Forbes (August 21, 2018).

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathonkeats/2018/08/21/helen-newton-harrison-santa-cruz/#3e4f77207214

[199] Mierle Laderman Ukeles. 2016. Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Maintenance Art. London: Prestel.  Also see Lippard, Lucy R. 2014. Undermining See page 132-3.

[200] “Addressing the Anthropocene is not something to leave in the hands of those in charge, given just how badly the ruling class of our time has mishandled this end of prehistory, this firstly scientific and now belatedly cultural discovery that we all live in a biosphere in a state of advanced metabolic rift. The challenge then is to construct thelabour perspective on the historical tasks of our time.” And later, “Labor finds itself in and against nature. Labor is always firstly in nature, subsumed within a totality greater than itself. Labor is secondly against nature. It comes into being through an effort to bend resisting nature to its purposes.” Wark, McKenzie. 2015. Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene (On Alexander Bogdanov and Kim Stanley Robinson). e-flux 63. http://www.e-flux.com/journal/molecular-red-theory-for-the-anthropocene-on-alexander-bogdanov-and-kim-stanley-robinson/

[201] Ashley Dawson. 2015. Documenting accumulation by dispossession. in Critical Landscapes: Art, Space, Politics. Emily Eliza Scott & Kirsten Swenson (eds). Berkeley: University of California Press. 161 – 178. See pages 167 to 171.

[202] Brooks, Katherine. 2014. This One Tree Grows 40 Different Types Of Fruit, Is Probably From The Future. The Huffington Post (July 24, 2014). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/24/tree-of-40-fruit_n_5614935.html

[203] Natasha Myers. 2020. How to grow liveable worlds: Ten (not-so-easy) steps for life in the Planthroposcene. ABC Religion and Ethics (28 Jan 2020).

https://www.abc.net.au/religion/natasha-myers-how-to-grow-liveable-worlds:-ten-not-so-easy-step/11906548?fbclid=IwAR2gGLXraFnagagtB-qtja5-J21DgxM_Nc057e41xKu9-AK3q4ddAD1TwLY

[204] Gallardo, Francisco Javier Fernández. 2014. biodiverCITY, the cocktail book, notes on how to taste soil, bees, ecosystems and networks of organisms — including humans. Else 0 (October 2014): 26 – 35.

[205] Lippard, Lucy R. 2014. Undermining. See page 190.

[206] Joseph Beuys in conversation with Richard Demarco, 1982 (Richard Demarco. 1982. “Joseph Beuys – Conversations with Artists.” Studio International 195 (996) (September 1982): 46.)

[207] Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2017. As We Have Always Done. See pages 159-160.

[208] Scott, Emily Eliza and Kirsten Swensen. 2015. Introduction: Contemporary art and the politics of land use. in Critical Landscapes: Art, Space, Politics. Emily Eliza Scott & Kirsten Swenson (eds). Berkeley: University of California Press. 1 – 15. See page 1.

[209] Lippard, Lucy R. 2014. Undermining See pages 175-177. Also see Nato Thompson. 2015. Experimental Geography: Radical Approaches to Landscape, Cartography, and Urbanism. New York: Independent Curators International / Melville House.

[210] Hal Foster. 1995. The Artist as Ethnographer? in The Traffic in Culture: Refiguring Art and Anthropology. George E. Marcus and Fred R. Myers editors. Berkeley: University of California Press. 302 – 309. See page 308.

[211] Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2017. As We Have Always Done.  See page 192.

[212] Nato Thompson. 2015. Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the Twenty-first Century. New York: Melville House.

3. Radical Orchards: Fruit cultivation in public space as unsettling culture

contents

0.     introduction: orchards of native fruit trees as both art and challenges to multiple crises of equity

1. imagining postcolonial possibilities: native orchards of unsettling & recovery

2. land art: revisiting some twentieth century impulses

3. guerrilla orchards & vineyards as cultural infrastructure for community development

4. conclusions & questions: from orchards to emergent communities

notes

2022 pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

0.

introduction:

orchards of native fruit trees as both art and challenges to multiple crises of equity

“The tree planting enterprise provides a very simple but radical possibility…”

Joseph Beuys in conversation with Richard Demarco, 1982[1]

Can new orchards be created as works of inherently multimedia art that in turn transform communities? If there is some hope for this artmaking as a response to this century of multiple and ever intensifying ecological crises, what are some goals for service to audiences and how can we begin to create blueprints for specific sites and orchard initiatives? In two previous essays, I have argued for the recovery of cultivation as practices that exist within and in turn transform contemporary public, site-based and multimedia culture. In this essay, I imagine orchards of native and traditional fruit tree as new works of art providing comfort and inspiration. Diverging from contemporary theoretical narratives of public art, social equity, and environmental justice, that are primarily word-based, I begin to imagine and describe through diverse visual and audio media.

Trees rarely survive alone. Instead, they are part of orchards, groves, woodlands, and forests. With careful intentions, the entirety of a grove can become a transformative work of art: inherently collaborative. And there are various ways that tree cultivation and protection can challenge social inequities: through the sharing of fruit and wood; the sequestration of carbon and the cleansing of atmosphere; as shade and refuge; and an places for reflection and imagining. With the horrific challenges of the twenty-first century, clusters of trees, including those that produce fruit, remain subversive in the shifting political and cultural movements and power relationships inherent in various notions of “landscape”[2] and art in the landscape.

Public art is increasingly defined as various sanctioned, spontaneous, collective, and often oppositional interventions. These emerging practices disrupt lines between public and private and neoliberal notions of propriety. One of the most disruptive forms of public art have been works that create orchards that provide a range of ‘free’ benefits that cannot be easily monetized.  In turn, contemporary art works that rely on trees, and the requirements for new forms of arboriculture and agriculture, require a revived set of material practices that effectively reconstruct public space[3] and social infrastructure.

As Martin Hogue argued in 2004, “The site is never simply found, but instead always constitutes an act of making.”[4] The orchard as art disrupts relatively discrete notions of “site” linking each, more clearly, to the biosphere.

Imagining and cultivating new networks of fruit trees, orchards, and woodlands comprise a disruptive contemporary art form unto itself based in large part on invoking environmental and cultural memory as part of social, political economic and aesthetic forms of decolonisation. Recombining traditional ecological knowledge, modern science and contemporary art practices generates investigations that transform communities in ways that are sometimes decolonial, aesthetic and artist. All of this aesthetic work around fruit, trees, history, communities and cultivation disrupts dominant twentieth century notions of subjectivity, collectivity, representation, artistic labour and production, and ‘relations’ more generally. Creative production, as artmaking, comprises labour particularly vulnerable to what Martha Rosler has termed “shifting valorisation.”[5]

If there was ever a time when the cultivation of trees is central to contemporary culture it is after a century of greater and swifter losses of forest and woodland than at any other time in human history. With the rapid rise in atmospheric carbon, art that fixes some of that back to living material is a demonstration of hope. If there was ever a time in history when recoveries from colonialism and neo-colonial, along with traditional knowledge, can be the focus of nuanced aesthetic statements, it is now. And as food reserves dwindle and the cost of living increases, art that engages around, makes, and shares food becomes part of culture bordering on spiritual observance.

Just as important as generating a beneficial ecological impact through nurturing traditional local gene pools, habitats and communities, we make ‘installations’ and archives with what we can find from recycled paper and ink to digital photographs, videos and text made with old computers and mobile telephones and reworked versions of software and apps. So in a time of new forms of impoverishment for artists, our approach is aggressive in the mixing of discarded and repurposed media taking inspiration from the minimalism and disregard for polish of the Arte Povera movement of Italy in the 1970s.

Unlaying this essay is the question of how can works that fix carbon organically, feeding pollinators and people, be better appreciated as contemporary culture? A more fundamental questionmis that of how can site-based, public, and multimedia art work embody strategies of cultural transfer to reskill human populations to restore, protect and transform our ecosystems and communities in the face of multiple ecological crises, war, and the intensifying evictions and displacements unleashed by global capital?

This essay begins to survey an emerging set of creative interventions for public space in the twenty-first century. I postulate some performative arts of guerrilla orchards, vineyards and woodlands that interrogate the new lines between wealth and poverty in the twenty-first century. The focus is on re-culturing practices effectively devalued as ‘agriculture’ and ‘environmental research’ consequently reworking some of the more reflexive approaches for contemporary interventions. The gentler impulses of mid-twentieth century land art, especially Alan Sonfist’s woodlands, some going back to the 1970s, laid another basis for recovering public memory extending back into deep time. In contrast, Beuys’ oaks and plinths in the early 1980s, linked cultivation to performance in a rupture with modernism. The following discussion investigates orchards as space for intercultural conversations and guerrilla gardening as site-based cultural disruptions that could undermine art economies and hierarchies the way that Smithson’s ‘non-sites’ undermined the primacy of the art gallery[6] a half a century ago. But life on Earth has become harder than in Smithson’s day: the oeuvre of site-based interventions as art are to counter evictions and disruption of life support. This essay is concluded with a vision of re-inventing public art as more as organic sources of inspiration to surviving a century ecological crises, war, evictions, and the violence of globalizing capital.

2021 May 1 SC̸ET̸EṈIL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN], tthʼuxwunʼ [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’] chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, blossoms, T̸ESNOEṈ [SENĆOŦEN] (Beaver Point) on ĆUÁN [SENĆOŦEN] (Salt Spring Island) * P5010037

I.

imagining postcolonial possibilities:

native orchards of unsettling & recovery

To “plant” a radical orchard as a cultural space harkens back to recovery of indigenous orchards, especially in the Western Hemisphere, rooted in five hundred years of communal defence and activism. To cultivate is to map or at least to honour a topography that is then transformed in new ways from the additional cartography.  Cultivation of unsettling culture involves a “renarrativization of art”[7] that destabilizes the goals and uses of the works, performances and interventions.

Decision-making on where to cultivate, where to intervene, remains problematic. Much of modern site planning[8] embodies a schizophrenia on one hand part of loose social agendas for greater equity and on the other a tool of the state and capital often at times of heightening class disparities.[9]  Hovering near that mechanistic framework for site planning are visions of re-establishing natural processes even in relatively dense, human communities[10] in an era of global ecological deterioration. An early form of ecological determinism[11], influenced by Scottish town planner Patrick Geddes, laid the basis for moderns notions of ‘design with nature’[12] and the professionalization and activism that followed.[13] 

Over the last half century, the descriptors of and goals for diverse social uses of public space have become increasingly specific. [14] Earlier movements for social equity in public space are being reconsidered critically as with the recent revisiting of Lawrence Halprin of supposedly user-based design of public space that embodied many biases.[15] A combined vision of social AND ecological infrastructure[16] is increasingly accepted and increasingly recognizes cultural infrastructure within economies accumulating wealth both through flows of information and surveillance.

Central to any radical, as in fundamental transformative power, forms of planting new orchards for unsettling culture is interrogating effectively colonial and white-supremist notions of “The Commons.”  Indigenous theorist Glen Coulthard noted back in 2015 that, “[T]he Left, in particular, needs to take these struggles more seriously, needs to recognize the revolutionary potential and subjectivity of indigenous peoples… A lot of the Left’s position has been structured around a reclamation of commons. All of these framings really occur on a colonial base that is often left uninterrogated…[with] their often unwitting complicity in the ongoing dispossession of indigenous lands and forms of life.”[17] So questions of who, as in groups historically denied the amenities of fruit trees, are to benefit the most from new orchard become central.

In a world of pre-colonial gardens, colonial gardens, and emerging, postcolonial gardens[18] radical orchards are part of an idealist lineage in landscape design that goes back for centuries. Both discerning pre-colonial legacies and imagining postcolonial possibilities becomes integral to site-based interventions on contested lands.  To bridge the precolonial world, including its gardens, with the emerging postcolonial possibility, new sites are needed to re-examine art and aesthetics.  For example, Duane Linklater’s blueberry garden[19] provides a key space for exploring both the past and the future, indigenous and settler. And simple interventions such as those of Linklater become highly political.[20] And there is the huge question of culture as space-making as part of demographic recovery.[21] While Linklater’s blueberry garden was relatively polite, radical orchards as cultural expression by indigenous communities continue to proliferate with respective investigations and challenges part of both resurgence and “creative combat.”[22]

New orchards, woodland, and forests are increasingly spaces of public concern that bridge traditional agroforestry, whether indigenous[23] or ‘traditional’ European[24], and contemporary forms of “community-based”[25] land use and conservation that in turn could support challenges to the increasingly ubiquitous power of global capital. And research and cultivation practices can weave seedlings into particular aesthetic statements and ecological and human communities. Other species, with no viable evolutionary histories in a locale, might be more heavily constrained and turned into art statements as with highly invasive plants.[26] Similarly, trees can be grown, sculpted[27], coppiced and harvested as long as people have been making site-based art out-of-doors.

2022 pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

II.

land art:

revisiting some twentieth century impulses

“Art doesn’t liberate everyone equally; it tends to reflect the biases of the culture that produced it as often as it transcends them. We may finally be reconsidering these biases, but anyone who has ever been left outside the canon will always be defined by their otherness.”

                                                               Megan O’Grady 2018[28]

Today’s movement to cultivate living things, including trees, as works of site-based and public art goes back to at least the mid-twentieth century and the aesthetic fractures that spread out from the ascendancy of Abstract Modernism. But rarely did those early projects envision living sites nor did they serve wide demographics. Instead, those often brutish interventions were a front to art gallery hegemony still within the conventional political economy of contemporary art.

In 1969, Max Kozloff referred to the emergence of land art and earthworks as “some imminent rising of human alternatives other than culture and artefact.”[29] Contemporary theorist Hanna Hölling connected that land art milieu back to Piero Manzoni’s 1961 gesture of the globe as a work of art (‘The Base of the World, Homage to Gilileo) going  back to the Italian avant-garde.[30] In his 1973 essay, Robert Smithson went further to posit “a dialectical materialism applied to the physical landscape. Dialectics of this type are a way of seeing things in a manifold of relations, not as isolated objects. Nature for the dialectician is indifferent to any formal ideal.”[31] But Smithson’s dialectic still involved an artificial divider with natural ecosystems with landscapes, including panoramas and vistas, as fetishes.

Perhaps the most important legacy of land art was the focus on the site and not the gallery or museum. Miwon Kwon outlined, “the criticality associated with the anti-idealist, anticommercial site-specific practices of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which incorporated the physical conditions of a particular location as integral to the production, presentation, and reception of art.”[32]

There were a lot of problems with land art. The many women artists active were often erased. Engagement with non-Western aesthetic movements related to landscape was more often facile. And none of these gestures, largely confined to the 1960s, used trees aesthetically or acknowledged larger living systems such as ecosystems or orchards as possible art works. Early on, the uses of the symbolic representations[33], especially of living trees, in public space were myriad and indefinite in part because of the vulnerability of these living materials.

One side current in twentieth century land art[34] with quite “a different vocabulary”[35] from those of Smithson is comprised by the woodlands, the “Time Landscapes,” of Alan Sonfist. With some initial successes, re-establishing woodlands notably in Lower Manhattan, there was resistance as in the bulldozing of Sonfist’s St. Louis mounds and seedlings in 1987.[36] From today’s vantage point six decades after Sonfist first initiated his tree planting, most of his “Time Landscapes” have survived and are moving into middle phases for forest succession. The rates of continued existence for his art sites are higher than many of the other founding land artists in part because those woodlands represent a wide range of experiences and amenities for neighbours.

Joseph Beuys engaged in one spectacular work of woodland re-establishment as art: his 1982, 7000 Eichen – Stadtverwaldung statt Stadtverwaltung  /  7000 Oaks – City Forestation Instead of City Administration in the city of Kassel.[37] Each of the many oaks had a basalt plinth at its base extended debates on urban design and the publicness of open space. Claire Bishop noted that, “Beuys drew a conceptual line between his output as a sculptor and his discursive/ pedagogic work”[38] and 7000 Eichen was perhaps the least identifiable of his work within that binary. For some, Beuys’ greatest work, 7000 Eichen, created at the height of his political activism,fused both sculpture and pedagogy. First engaging in a kind of performative and collaborative strategy of creating sometimes annoying piles of basalt throughout the city, the pressure was on to quickly find places to plant the trees and use up the piles of stone creating what Beuys termed in the last years of his life, “Sculpture that reaches far into the future.”[39]

Since the 1980s, the use of living material, and fruit trees in particular, in public art has been rare. The “New genre public art”[40] that emerged in the 1990s has tended to be less permanent in orientation[41] with few living components in those styles of works and performances. The term “BioArt” “was coined by Eduardo Kac in 1997 in relation to his artwork Time Capsule.”[42] Certainly bioart practices extend to cultivation, propagation and genetic modification including indigenous and traditional selection and breeding without laboratory interventions into Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

In these undercurrents of cultivation and trees-as-art, the twenty-first century has brought some profound developments. Trees have been re-inscribed in the climate crisis. Any kind of sequestration of carbon into living biomass, including trees, have come to effectively embody sacred practices. Woodlands, forests, groves, bosques, and orchard become powerful cultural tropes for human survival. Similarly, fruit production and orchards have come to symbolize movements for indigenous and local food production and nutritional health more generally. And less known, tree varieties, foods, and production processes are being revisited.

The twenty-first century has also seen a turn towards what Claire Bishop termed in 2006, “participatory and collaborative art.”[43] Miwon Kwon described “the shift from site specificity to a collaborative, participatory mode of community-based practice” in the 1990s. [44]  In turn, many contemporary practices that directly engage with social groups contest and expand older notions, of “community” and “community-based.”[45]  Relational aesthetics[46] has unleashed an “aesthetics of conversation”[47] with some of the best work linking tree cultivation to sharing food to re-experiencing neighbourhood and community by the Los Angeles-based collective, Fallen Fruit.[48]

2022 concept as a homage for a small Salish orchard in pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

III.

guerrilla orchards & vineyards

as cultural infrastructure for community development

“A new working class is emerging all over the world: these are people who often hold more than one job or have long periods of fallow, unwaged time, to think in and imagine. They are student-workers, apprentice-artists, practitioner-theorists, itinerant jugglers of skills and sensibilities. Their sphere of action is indeterminate. They have little investment in the structures of social and political life as they exist at present because they understand that they do not stand to gain in any way by their presence.” Raqs Media Collective 2015[49]

“[T]he artist has become the role model for what he calls the ‘No Collar’ workforce: artists provide a useful model for precarious labour since they have a work mentality based on flexibility (working project by project, rather than nine to five) and honed by the idea of sacrificial labour (i.e. being predisposed to accept less money in return for relative freedom).”  Claire Bishop 2012[50]

In the face of a century of biospheric crises and social ruptures spanning climate, food production, and life itself, fruit tree cultivation, as an element of an art work, can be powerful. But there is a far more profound role for trees in contemporary art: as part of transmitting practices for survival and mobilizing new forms of communality, civic space, acculturation, and education. In this way, the turn of art works becoming orchards can best be understood as part of redevelopment of human work forces in the face of new precarity, part ecological and part political economic. An orchard as a cultural space in turn provides a template for reorganizing the labour to maintain, protect, and expand respective agroecosystems.

How can human beings quickly learn new practices of planetary survival? First there are volatile blends of fear and anxiety on one hand and inspiration on the other. Even with precarity, pleasure and fun are crucial. And then there are new perspectives and skills. Culture can transmit an array of experiences from symbols and concepts to examples and even “creative”[51] demonstrations related to teaching skills. An orchard is a beautiful means of fixing carbon and producing food, a kind of multimedia and sculptural work that expand notions of land art, a theatre for performance, and a shelter from extremes. But to begin to conceive of thousands of new orchards with so many functions and stakeholders?

Scale becomes a huge question in making new orchards transformative spaces. To just focus on the direct boundaries of an orchard is to be naïve. An orchard is a seed, root, and cutting ‘bomb’ expanding outward. Alison Hugill argued that “By focusing efforts at a local level, public art and architecture initiatives often fail to imagine how the urban politics they embody can be scaled globally, in order to address structural economic, social, and political problems.”[52]

One example of how art works with trees can transmit knowledge and skills is a recent work of Sam Van Aken he described as “sculpture through grafting.”[53] Grafting embodies a range of skills and practices that is in demand for aesthetic and radical forms of carbon sequestration. Van Aken’s body of work celebrates vegetable and fruit trees using grafting as a distinct medium part genetic and part place-making as part of a broader investigation of how to “transubstantiate a thing.” [54] Embedded in these investigations and interventions in public space is a response to the loss of fruit tree and other crop diversity. Van Aken began the project to acquire and protect a heritage orchard slated for destruction. [55] As well as hold the promise of a variety of Prunus fruit, from plums, to cherries, to peaches, his grafting processes are as much aesthetic as scientific beginning with a “working tree” followed years later with branches of other stone fruit varieties added through “chip grafting” that he uses to create a long-term “narrative” about place.[56] Times and seasonal transitions become part of the media and Van Aken stated that, “”I can essentially sculpt how the tree is to blossom.” [57]

Van Aken’s work has essentially been with recombining contributions of an entire research program, in cherries and plums, into one tree. But for trees as part of contemporary art, always involving other media and vocabularies from Beuys’ basalt plinths to performance, to have an impact on the biosphere, and global culture, more aggressive practices are also necessary. Some of these aesthetic practices contest notions of propriety, public space, and ownership.

“Guerrilla” cultivation begins to counter the obstacles to reversing the destruction of ecosystems and good systems. “Guerrilla” is also an approach to push beyond older notions of propriety in order to intervene in complex threats to human communities and respective ecosystems. “Guerrilla gardening” is an urban tactic and movement, focused on cultivation “without permission” of the landowner,[58] that goes back half a century. Other than recent moves to ban genetically modified crops for more organized interventions, species, varieties, and gene pools have rarely been a concern or been considered in the context of social equity.

Guerrilla actions are sometimes necessary to make the space to plant trees and to create a productive and accessible orchard as a “social body.”[59] Free fruit, and orchard spaces slightly outside of the market economy, blend social movements, ecological design, and public art with just one recent example being the Seattle Food Forest.[60] Perhaps a more creative iteration of the ongoing Seattle experiment are the orchards planted in Los Angeles by the local collective which in turn were influenced by Amy Franceschini’s 2006 Victory Garden project in San Francisco[61] as part of the Futurefarmers network[62].  Less focused on expansive sites has been the work of San Francisco’s Guerrilla Grafters which insinuates small amounts (branches) of fruit production in public space.[63]

Orchard and associated gardens can be new sites for enjoying art. Caleb Kelly and Ross Gibson described a recent project in Sydney where “the simple act of creating a garden laid out the complex interactions between culture and nature, and signal and noise.”[64] In this sense of communication disaggregation and recombination, garden-making, site interventions, and gardens require, disrupt, and reproduce aesthetics and recreate art objects, social relationships and notions of beauty. These social, activist and collaborative practices were described decades back by curator and theoretician Lucy Lippard as “social energies not yet recognized as art.”[65]

In her 2004 essay, Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics, Claire Bishop explored art spaces as “laboratories”[66] and sometimes even “microtopias.” [67] Radical orchards can be spaces to experiment with ways to counter the “slow violence”[68] of the Anthropocene.[69] These emerging movements, today, diverge profoundly from the romantic organicism of a half century ago described by Martha Rosler, as “The urban farming movement, a corner of the artisanal fever that periodically grips artists’ communities, potently expresses a desire to return to a mythic, prelapsarian Eden of community and stability, of preindustrial, premediatic life, without the grit of urban disconnection but with the authenticity of Gemeinschaft restored.” While Rosler correctly argues that these sensibilities are often invoked as part of contemporary gentrification, the pressures to create radical orchards are related more to what we see today in depopulating Detroit and poisoned Flint.

2020 August 4 ḴÁ,EW̱ IL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN], Qwa’up-ulp [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’], Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca, crabapple Tsawout lands, south of W̱SÁNEĆ Indian Reserve 2 * P1010021

IV.

conclusions & questions:

from orchards to emergent communities

“As envisionaries, artists should be able to provide a way to work against the dominant culture’s rapacious view of nature, reinstate the mythical and cultural dimensions of ‘public’ experience, and at the same time become conscious of the ideological relationships and historical construction of place. The dialectic between place and change can provide the kind of no-one’s-land where artists thrive.”

Lucy Lippard 1998[70]

“The illusion of substantiality, naturalness and spatial opacity nurtures its own mythology. One thinks of the space-oriented artist, at work in a hard or dense reality delivered direct from the domain of Mother Nature. More likely a sculptor than a painter, an architect sooner than a musician or poet, such an artist tends to work with materials that resist or evade his efforts. When space is not being overseen by the geometer, it is liable to take on the physical qualities and properties of the earth.” Henri Lefebvre 1974[71]

“The fact is, there’s no blueprint for decolonization; nothing involving people working together for greater justice is especially utopian or marvellous. There will always be disagreement, imperfection, more to learn, more work to be done. This kind of art is nothing if not effortful; it comes at a personal cost.” Megan O’Grady 2021[72]

Lefebvre’s perspective of environmental artists was penned at the height of the original Land art movement. In terms of his celebrated theoretical framework, Lefebvre was being optimistic – while somewhat snide. To make art that is alive is to have hope in more than a set of aesthetics and inspiring stories. To make art that is alive is to have the ruthless determine to continue to create and defend a set of ecosystems and respective human communities in the face of whatever disasters befall those sites and spaces.

Lucy Lippard recently acknowledged the grey zones between site-based art, public art, and collaborative practices noting that there are  “artists who seem to care about the audience and people who don’t”.[73] If we go back to Lippard’s “place ethic” in public art works, one crucial set of function is “to hold people’s attention once they’ve been attracted, to make them wonder, and to offer ever deeper experiences and references” [74]

If the convivial relational art of the fin-de-millénaire really did reflect the ascendance of service-based economies, the kinds of environmental art of radical orchards for skills-transfer in the face of the Anthropocene explored in this essay is rooted in the instability and precarity of pandemics, extreme climate, gentrification and ever more massive social displacements, and war. In this way, new organic interventions as diversifying and re-established ecosystems are also part of “the transforming nexus between the subject/object and location.”[75] In other words, these creative practices for resilient human ecosystems tell us more about where we live and as importantly tell us what we’ll need to know about our homes in order to keep and survive in them. And with huge amounts of information needed to be transmitted as part of maintenance and protection of these living works, digital, paper, and biophysical archives[76], building on earlier interest in art that involves repositories of collective memory, are necessary.

Returning to the 2017 Leanne Betasamosake Simpson essays, radical orchards, linked deeply to earlier cultivation traditions, could be part of embodied resurgent[77] practices and coded disruptions.[78] Certainly, establishing, maintaining and defending new communal, artistic and ‘artisanal’ orchards requires challenges to “colonial spatialities.” But to conflate “indigenous aesthetics” as “code…to disrupt the noise of colonialism”[79] betrays the nuance and multiple agendas rarely afforded colonized subjects – even today. Simpson’s description of Rebecca Belmore’s 2012 performance unwrapping a tree on Canada Day[80] begins to trace far more complex sets of intentions and site-based practices.

This essay has not outlined key characteristics of radical orchards nor the practices necessary to create them. There are legions of possibilities related to sites, human communities, nutritional needs, fruit tree genotypes, land ownership, aesthetics, and art economies. In closing for now, a number of questions emerge. How can new orchards embody visual, sound, olfactory, and tactile information that inspires and transmits basic information on tree cultivation? How can the profound differences between the orchards of indigenous, ecosystem-based cultures and those of cosmopolitan colonizers be acknowledged and cultivation sites nurturing inter-cultural conversations? In the face of the multiple threats posed by the Anthropocene, how can radical orchards, as cultural interventions of hope, be defended and continue to evolve as human needs change?

2018 July 11 pear (part of the apple, Malus sp., gene pool) in the Hotel Palazzo Salis garden, Soglio, Switzerland * P7110035

Notes


[1] Joseph Beuys in conversation with Richard Demarco, 1982 (Richard Demarco. 1982. “Joseph Beuys – Conversations with Artists.” Studio International 195 (996) (September 1982): 46.)

[2] Scott, Emily Eliza and Kirsten Swensen. 2015. Introduction: Contemporary art and the politics of land use. in Critical Landscapes: Art, Space, Politics. Emily Eliza Scott & Kirsten Swenson (eds). Berkeley: University of California Press. 1 – 15. See pages 3 and 4.

[3] “Space becomes the principal site and area of struggles and actions…” Lefebvre, Henri. 1981 (1988). La Production de l’Espace.  (Rob Shields translation 1988). Paris:  Editions Anthropos. [The Shields translation is on-line at http://www.ualberta.ca/~rshields/f/prodspac.htm with the page numbers cited for the French language passages from the 1981 edition. See page 471 – 472.]

[4] Hogue, Martin. 2004. The site as project: Lessons from land art and conceptual art. Journal of Architectural Education 57(3): 54 – 61.

[5] Viegener, Matias. 2015. Speculative Futures: Social practice, cognitive capitalism and / or the triumph of capital. in Informal Market Worlds: The Architecture of Economic Pressure. Peter Mörtenböeck and Helge Mooshammer (eds.). Rotterdam: nai010.

http://mviegener.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Viegener-Matias-Speculative-Futures-Social-Practice-Cognitive-Capitalism-andor-the-Triumph-of-Capital.pdf

[6] Smithson, Robert. 1973 (1996). Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape in Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings. Jack Flam (ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. 157–171.

[7] Lucy R. Lippard. 1998. The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society. New York: The New Press. See page 80.

[8] Lynch, Kevin and Gary Hack. 1984. Site Planning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

[9] Whyte, William H. 1980. The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. New York: Project for Public Spaces.

[10] Spirn, Anne W.  1985. The Granite Garden: Urban Nature And Human Design. New York: Basic Books.

[11] McHarg, Ian L. 1966. Ecological Determinism. in Future Environments of North America. F. Fraser Darling and John P. Milton (eds). Garden City, New York: The Natural History Press. 526 – 538.

[12] McHarg, Ian L. 1969 (1971). Design With Nature. Garden City, New York: Doubleday / The Natural History Press.

[13] Thompson, George F. and Frederick R. Steiner (eds.). 1997. Ecological Design and Planning. New York: Wiley.

[14] The single most influential work on equity in urban space was, William Whyte’s 1980 The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (New York: Project for Public Spaces). Today, the work of Jan Gehl, centred more in European pedestrian-oriented city centres is highly influential (See Gehl, Jan. 1987. Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space. translated by Jo Koch. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold & Gehl, J. and Svarre, B. 2013. How to Study Public Life. Washington, DC: Island Press.)

[15] Hirsch, Alison . 2014. City Choreographer: Lawrence Halprin in Urban Renewal America. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

[16] One example of the loosely unified ‘infrastructure’ is suggested in Benedict, Mark A.  and Edward T. McMahon 2006. Green Infrastructure: Linking Landscapes and Communities. Washington DC: Island Press. A more nuanced set of debates is embodied in Reed, Chris and Nina-Marie Lister (eds.) 2014. Projective Ecologies. Cambridge, Massachusetts: ACTAR, Harvard Graduate School of Design.

[17] Glen Coulthard interviewed by Andrew Bard Epstein. 2015. The Colonialism of the Present. Scholar and activist Glen Coulthard on the connection between indigenous and anticapitalist struggles. Jacobin Magazine.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/01/indigenous-left-glen-coulthard-interview/

[18] Benner, Ron. 2008. Gardens of a Colonial Present / Jardins d’un Present Colonial. London, Ontario: London Museum.

[19] Linklater, Duane. 2012. Untitled (A Blueberry Garden for Bard College). 12 blueberry bushes, garden implements, soil, mulch, wood, rope. Variable dimensions. http://www.duanelinklater.com/index.php?/a-blueberry-garden-/ 

[20] Linklater, Duane. 2012. Untitled (a raspberry garden for 21st. St.). In conjunction with Bard Centre for Curatorial Studies and Family Business Gallery. The opening of the exhibition consisted of a 45 minute talk with Wil Heinrich. An event several weeks later took place in which poet Layli Longsoldier read her series of poems Whereas – a pointed poetic response to President Barrack Obama’s little known apology to Native Americans in 2010. http://www.duanelinklater.com/index.php?/raspberry/

[21] Ingram, Gordon Brent. 2013. Repopulating contentious territory: Recent strategies for indigenous North-west Coast site-based & public art. FUSE (Toronto) 36(4): 7 – 8.

[22]  Martineau, J. & E. Ritskes.  2014. “Fugitive indigeneity: Reclaiming the terrain of decolonial struggle through Indigenous art”. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society. 3 (1) (Spring 2014). and Martineau, Jarrett. 2015. Creative Combat: Indigenous Art, Resurgence, and Decolonization. PhD dissertation, University of Victoria Indigenous Governance Program.

URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1828/6702

[23] Berkes, Fikret. 2012. Sacred Ecology: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Resource Management. 3rd Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Taylor and Francis.

[24] Honoré, Tiphaine. 2012. Agroforestry, the traditional practice of growing crops around trees, is regaining popularity in parts of France. Guardian [London] (21 August, 2012).

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/aug/21/agroforestry-france-farming-revival

[25] Natcher, D.C. and C.G. Hickey. 2003. Putting the community back into community-based resource management: A criteria and indicators approach to sustainability. Human Organization 61 (4): 350 – 363.

[26] Hirshey, Gerri. 2008. Why fight invasive vines? Just turn them into Art – WOMAN VS. NATURE Laura Spector wrestling with some Celastrus orbiculata. The New York Times (March 30, 2008) &

Sharon Kallis. 2014. Common Threads: Weaving Community through Collaborative Eco-Art. Gabriola Island, British Columbia: New Society Publishers. See pages 137 – 156.

[27] Mafi, Nick. 2015. Designer Gavin Munro Casts Trees Into Beautiful Furnishings. Architectural Digest (April 24, 2015)

http://www.architecturaldigest.com/blogs/daily/2015/04/furniture-grown-from-trees

[28] Megan O’Grady. 2018. Women Land Artists Get Their Day in the Museum. New York Times (T Magazine): November 21, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/21/t-magazine/female-land-artists.html

[29] Max Kozloff. 1969. “Art,” The Nation 208(11) (17 March 1969): 347.

[30] Hanna Hölling. 2018. “The Lands of Art: Thoughts on Historical Land Art.” Land Art – An Alps Art Academy Reader. a paper based on a presentation on June 30, 2018. Tenna, Switzerland: Alps Art Academy. 16 paper pages in a participant binder. See page 1.

[31] Smithson, Robert. 1973 (1996). Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape. in Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings. Jack Flam (ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. 157–171. See page 160.

[32]  Kwon, Miwon. 2004. One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge UK: The MIT Press. See page 1.

[33] “[S]ocial space also contains specific representations of this double or triple interaction between the social relations of production and reproduction. Symbolic representation serves to maintain these social relations in a state of coexistence and cohesion. It displays them while displacing them – and thus concealing them in symbolic fashion – with the help of, and onto the backdrop of, nature.”Lefebvre, Henri. (1974) 1991. The Production of Space. (Donald Nicholson-Smith trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell. See page 32.

[34] Alan Sonfist (editor). 1983. Art in the Land: A Critical Anthology of Environmental Art. New York: Dutton and Alan Sonfist, Wolfgang Becker, and Robert Rosenblum. 2004. Nature, the End of Art: Environmental Landscapes. New York: Distributed Art Publishers.

[35] Landi, Ann. 2011. Separating the Trees from the Forest: Alan Sonfist has built a career as an urban land artist. ARTnews (Summer 2011). http://www.artnews.com/2011/08/15/separating-the-trees-from-the-forest/

[36] William E. Schmidt. 1987. After Auspicious Beginnings, Public Art Finds Itself at Odds With the Public. New York Times (November 2, 1987).

[37] Beuys, Joseph. 1982. 7000 Eichen – Stadtverwaldung statt Stadtverwaltung  /  7000 Oaks – City Forestation Instead of City Administration. Kassel, Hesse: documenta 7.

[38] Bishop, Claire. 2012. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. New York: Verso. See page 245. http://jaumeferrete.net/text/Bishop-Claire-Artificial-Hells-Participatory-Art-and-Politics-Spectatorship.pdf

[39] Bel Jacobs. 2021. Why planting a tree is a radical act. BBC Culture (20th June 2021).

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20210618-joseph-beuys-the-original-eco-activist

[40] Suzanne Lacy (editor). 1995. Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art. Seattle: Bay Press & Kwon, Miwon. 2002. One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge UK: The MIT Press. See page 104 to 105.

[41]  Kwon, Miwon. 2002. One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge UK: The MIT Press. See page 6.

[42] Wikipedia. 2015. BioArt. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BioArt

[43] Bishop, Claire. 2012. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. New York: Verso. See page 11. http://jaumeferrete.net/text/Bishop-Claire-Artificial-Hells-Participatory-Art-and-Politics-Spectatorship.pdf

[44]  Kwon, Miwon. 2002. One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge UK: The MIT Press. See page 115.

[45]  Kwon, Miwon. 2002. One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge UK: The MIT Press. See pages 145 to 155.

[46] Bourriaud, Nicolas. 1998. Relational Aesthetics. Dijon, France: Les presses du réel and Bishop and Claire. 2004. Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics. October 110 (2004): 51 – 80. http://www.teamgal.com/production/1701/SS04October.pdf

[47] Spampinato, Francesco. 2014. Come Together: The Rise of Cooperative Art and Design. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. See pages 7 and 8.

[48] Thompson, Nato (ed). 2012. Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. 150 – 151. Also see, Burns, David, Matias Viegener and Austin Young. 2005. FALLENFRUIT Manifesto. http://www.fallenfruit.org/wp-content/uploads/FF-manifesto-handout.pdf

[49] Raqs Media Collective. 2015 A KNOT UNTIED IN TWO PARTS. The Social Commons: Citizens in the Shade, Aliens in the Sun, September 3rd 2015 SUPERCOMMUNITY e-flux journal 56th Venice Biennale (September 3, 2015 — Day 87). http://supercommunity.e-flux.com/texts/a-knot-untied-in-two-parts/

[50] Bishop, Claire. 2012. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. New York: Verso. See page 16.

[51] The roles of creativity and creative workers, even when unpaid for particular cultural labour, remains contentious in the formation of urban space and respective displacements. See  Rosler, Martha. 2011. Culture Class: Art, Creativity, Urbanism. e-flux 23.

http://www.e-flux.com/journal/culture-class-art-creativity-urbanism-part-ii/

[52] Alison Hugill. 2016. Art and Architecture’s DIY Practices and “Folk Politics”: Radical or Picking Up the Social Tab? Momus (June 9, 2016)

http://momus.ca/art-and-architectures-diy-practices-and-folk-politics-radical-or-picking-up-the-social-tab/

[53] Salked, Lauren interviewed Sam Van Aken. N.D. The Tree of 40 Fruit Is Exactly as Awesome as It Sounds. epicurious.com. http://www.epicurious.com/archive/chefsexperts/interviews/sam-van-aken-interview

[54] Salked, Lauren interviewed Sam Van Aken. N.D. The Tree of 40 Fruit Is Exactly as Awesome as It Sounds.

[55] Salked, Lauren interviewed Sam Van Aken. N.D. The Tree of 40 Fruit Is Exactly as Awesome as It Sounds.

[56] Katherine Brooks. 2014. This One Tree Grows 40 Different Types Of Fruit, Is Probably From The Future. The Huffington Post (July 24, 2014)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/24/tree-of-40-fruit_n_5614935.html

[57] Salked, Lauren interviewed Sam Van Aken. N.D. The Tree of 40 Fruit Is Exactly as Awesome as It Sounds.

[58] Lydon, Mike, Dan Bartman, Tony Garcia, Russ Preston and Ronald Woudstra. 2012. Tactical Urbanism 2: Short-term Action | Long-Term Change. New York: Street Plans Collaborative. See page 22.

http://issuu.com/streetplanscollaborative/docs/tactical_urbanism_vol_2_final?e=4528751/2585800

[59] Lefebvre, Henri. 1981 (1988). La Production de l’Espace.  (Rob Shields translation 1988). See page 223 – 224.

[60] Thompson, Claire. 2012. Into the woods: Seattle plants a public food forest. Grist. http://grist.org/urban-agriculture/into-the-woods-seattle-plants-a-public-food-forest/  & Stone, Dan. 2013. Seattle’s Free Food Experiment. National Geographic Magazine (April 29, 2013).  http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/29/seattles-free-food-experiment/

[61] Viegener, Matias. 2015. Speculative Futures: Social practice, cognitive capitalism and / or the triumph of capital. See page 197 – 200.

[62] http://www.futurefarmers.com/

[63] See: www.guerrillagrafters.org/ ; Lonny Shavelson for National Public Radio. 2012. Guerrilla Grafters Bring Forbidden Fruit Back To City Trees. National Public Radio (April 7, 2012). http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/04/07/150142001/guerrilla-grafters-bring-forbidden-fruit-back-to-city-trees ; and Faircompanies.com. 2011. Guerrilla grafters: splicing fruit onto a city’s trees. YouTube: Uploaded on Nov 13, 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0osO1_FR_24

[64] Kelly, Caleb and Ross Gibson. 2010. Contemporary Art & The Noise of TENDING. Interference A Journal of Audio Culture (Dublin) 4. http://www.interferencejournal.com/articles/noise/the-noise-of-tending

[65] Wallace, Ian. 2014. Critic Lucy Lippard on Trading Conceptual Art for Environmental Activism. Artspace (May 1, 2014). http://www.artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/lucy_lippard_interview

[66] Bishop, Claire. 2004. Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics. See pages 51, 52 and 58.

[67] Bishop, Claire. 2004. Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics. See page 54.

[68] Rob Nixon. 2013. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. See page 2.

[69] Emily Eliza Scott. 2015. Earth Seeing. Social Text (March 8, 2015). http://socialtextjournal.org/periscope_article/earth-seeing/#sthash.mFvtnS0J.dpuf

[70] Lucy R. Lippard. 1998. The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society. New York: The New Press. page 19.

[71] Lefebvre, Henri. (1974) 1991. The Production of Space. (Donald Nicholson-Smith trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell. See page 30.

[72] Megan O’Grady. 2021. The Artists Bringing Activism Into and Beyond Gallery Spaces. New York Times (October 1, 2021). https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/01/t-magazine/art-activism-forensic-architecture.html

[73] Wallace, Ian. 2014. Critic Lucy Lippard on Trading Conceptual Art for Environmental Activism. Artspace (May 1, 2014). http://www.artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/lucy_lippard_interview

[74] Lucy R. Lippard. 1998. The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society. New York: The New Press. See page 286.

[75]  Kwon, Miwon. 2002. One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. See page 8.

[76] Enwezor, Okwui. 2008. Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art. Göttingen, Germany: Steidl.

[77] Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2017. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. See page 196.

[78] Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2017. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance. See pages 191 – 210.

[79] Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2017. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance. See pages 200 – 210.

[80] Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2017. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance. See pages 203 – 205.

2022 pencil, conté crayon and ink drawing

When they blossom: The chokecherry grove on Hwmet’utsun

At least twice a year, I take a long walk in the woodlands of contested HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’ territory, on ĆUÁN the SENĆOŦEN name for Salt Spring Island, along an active earthquake fault to the chokecherry grove on Hwmet’utsun, “bent over place” in HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’.  Hwmet’utsun is a rugged but softly conglomerate mountain that rises from the inlet, Xwaaqw’um [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’] and XOEK̵EM [SENĆOŦEN for “land of the Sawbill”] fleetingly called Burgoyne Bay, a channel that is twice as deep as the mountain is high. And off that earthquake fault in the sea at the base of the mountain comes another fault rising from the sea and going up to the top of the mountain. Halfway up is a damp patch where these West Coast chokecherries thrive.

Called tuluuulhp in HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’ and SC̸ET̸EṈ ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN], chokecherry, whose Latin binomial is “Prunus virginiana,” is a small tree that sometimes grows up to 15 metres on the West Coast but rarely stands for more than eighty years. The wood is light and weak often favoured for movable tipi poles in the prairies. Chokecherry is a small and modest tree that extends across the East and West Coasts of North America from California to the Arctic. In colder, harsher climates in much of Canada chokecherry rarely survives as more than a small tree or shrub.  But ecologically, chokecherry is a giant that feeds the world. Chokecherry feeds the land when food is not readily available: first providing a huge pulse of nectar and sugars, for insects and small birds, in April just before a lot of other native plants begin to bloom and then contributing a huge amount of fruit, often in Canada the most fruit of any species, for larger birds and smaller mammals in mid-August.

Rarely do chokecherry grow in large groves. So the one large grove on Hwmet’utsun and the only significant grove at all on ĆUÁN is a marvel to experience especially when the trees blossom in April when millions of sour drupes, its fruit, ripen in-mid August. So my journey is part of an annual cycle.

I started coming here in my teens but it took years for me to notice the little chokecherry trees. Not as imposing as fir trees or grand as oaks, chokecherry can easily be overlooked especially as the givers, the feeders of an ecosystem – even on a mountain with such importance in Salish stories. So chokecherry woodland, perhaps the most northerly occurrence of this rare ecosystem on the West Coast, is precious and easily overlooked.

This mountain has been a refuge for me, a place of experimentation, that I can see in different ways: a landscape of sacred places; the backdrop of key Salish stories; a Salish food production landscape; with one of the warmest winters in Canada a landscape of rare ecosystems and scores of species at risk; a poorly protected area; a frontier between Cowichan reassertion of stewardship and repeated waves of settlement and encroachment.

Usually I stash my mountain bicycle. But today, on April 24, 2022, I just drove to the parking lot in my farm vehicle that I use for hauling for a farm lease a kilometre down the road. Walking slowly, I parallel the shore for three kilometres passing places where I’ve conducted field research, had picnics, recorded photographs, and made love. Now I’m a bit too alone. I would rather show someone else the way. Alone today, I pass some curious changes: a stashed mountain bicycle well into the ecological reserve; a sweat lodge in use with a fire (technically illegal unless permitted as part of a HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’ ceremony); and an unseasonably cool spring after increasingly violent storms.

At the perpendicular fault line, there’s a mountain stream that is wide in this wet spring. On the other side is an ephemeral world of shifting light and drifting petals. I sit for a few hours just watching. At first, some very large and hairy bumblebees checked me out and then took off. Other insects come and go. The wind nearly tips the camera. And there were those quiet moments when the imperfect technology just records. The walk back was easy: the sweat lodge far below appeared to be partially dismantled, a young dog with an erection demanded part of my snack and I yelled at the owner, who came out of the woods in a state of partial undress, that I did not appreciate having to look at a canine ejaculate while I was eating. I went home and dreamed of living in a world of chokecherry elegance, drifting petals, the shimmering. Somehow I live here, in the back of my mind and in the strength of my eyes and arms, all of the time.

At least twice a year, I take a long walk in the woodlands of contested HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’ territory, on ĆUÁN the SENĆOŦEN name for Salt Spring Island, along an active earthquake fault to the chokecherry grove on Hwmet’utsun, “bent over place” in HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’. Hwmet’utsun is a rugged but softly conglomerate mountain that rises from the inlet, Xwaaqw’um [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’] and XOEK̵K̵EM [SENĆOŦEN for “land of the Sawbill”] fleetingly called Burgoyne Bay, a channel that is twice as deep as the mountain is high. And off that earthquake fault in the sea at the base of the mountain comes another fault rising from the sea and going up to the top of the mountain. Halfway up is a damp patch where these West Coast chokecherries thrive.

Called tuluuulhp in HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’ and SC̸ET̸EṈ ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN], chokecherry, whose Latin binomial is “Prunus virginiana,” is a small tree that sometimes grows up to 15 metres on the West Coast but rarely stands for more than eighty years. The wood is light and weak often favoured for movable tipi poles in the prairies. Chokecherry is a small and modest tree that extends across the East and West Coasts of North America from California to the Arctic. In colder, harsher climates in much of Canada chokecherry rarely survives as more than a small tree or shrub. But ecologically, chokecherry is a giant that feeds the world. Chokecherry feeds the land when food is not readily available: first providing a huge pulse of nectar and sugars, for insects and small birds, in April just before a lot of other native plants begin to bloom and then contributing a huge amount of fruit, often in Canada the most fruit of any species, for larger birds and smaller mammals in mid-August.

Rarely do chokecherry grow in large groves. So the one large grove on Hwmet’utsun and the only significant grove at all on ĆUÁN is a marvel to experience especially when the trees blossom in April when millions of sour drupes, its fruit, ripen in-mid August. So my journey is part of an annual cycle.

I started coming here in my teens but it took years for me to notice the little chokecherry trees. Not as imposing as fir trees or grand as oaks, chokecherry can easily be overlooked especially as the givers, the feeders of an ecosystem – even on a mountain with such importance in Salish stories. So chokecherry woodland, perhaps the most northerly occurrence of this rare ecosystem on the West Coast, is precious and easily overlooked.

This mountain has been a refuge for me, a place of experimentation, that I can see in different ways: a landscape of sacred places; the backdrop of key Salish stories; a Salish food production landscape; with one of the warmest winters in Canada a landscape of rare ecosystems and scores of species at risk; a poorly protected area; a frontier between Cowichan reassertion of stewardship and repeated waves of settlement and encroachment.

Usually I stash my mountain bicycle. But today, on April 24, 2022, I just drove to the parking lot in my farm vehicle that I use for hauling for a farm lease a kilometre down the road. Walking slowly, I parallel the shore for three kilometres passing places where I’ve conducted field research, had picnics, recorded photographs, and made love. Now I’m a bit too alone. I would rather show someone else the way. Alone today, I pass some curious changes: a stashed mountain bicycle well into the ecological reserve; a sweat lodge in use with a fire (technically illegal unless permitted as part of a HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’ ceremony); and an unseasonably cool spring after increasingly violent storms.

At the perpendicular fault line, there’s a mountain stream that is wide in this wet spring. On the other side is an ephemeral world of shifting light and drifting petals. I sit for a few hours just watching. At first, some very large and hairy bumblebees checked me out and then took off. Other insects come and go. The wind nearly tips the camera. And there were those quiet moments when the imperfect technology just records. The walk back was easy: the sweat lodge far below appeared to be partially dismantled, a young dog with an erection demanded part of my snack and I yelled at the owner, who came out of the woods in a state of partial undress, that I did not appreciate having to look at a canine ejaculate while I was eating. I went home and dreamed of living in a world of chokecherry elegance, drifting petals, the shimmering. Somehow I live here, in the back of my mind and in the strength of my eyes and arms, all of the time.

Hedgerow-building & spreading large-fruit chokecherry hybrids through placing cuttings in ditches

2022 April 18 chokecherry X Eurasian cultivar plum hybrid cuttings below KEXMIN field station, ĆUÁN * 1P3A1311

Chokecherry, Prunus Virginiana (SC̸ET̸EṈIL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN], tthʼuxwunʼ [HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’] for both bitter and chokecherry), is often the most common flowering and fruiting tree in the northern half of North America. While often avoided by settlers for its tart fruit mistakenly considered poisonous, chokecherry has had central nutritional (and sometimes medicinal and cultural) roles in a large number of Indigenous communities in Canada, Alaska, and the northern half of the United States Mainland. Chokecherry is also part of the huge and crucial Prunus gene pool that is circumpolar. And sometimes chokecherry hybridizes with Eurasian cherry and plums.

2016 September and October City of Vancouver bus shelter poster (1/4), lhex̱wlhéx̱w [Sḵwx̱wú7mesh snichim], dye transfer print, 47.25 inches x 68.25 inches, completed collaboratively as castle grünenfelder ingram

Southern ĆUÁN [SENĆOŦEN] (Salt Spring Island) has been a centre of cultural hybridity for two centuries. With two Salish languages, SENĆOŦEN and HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’ along with the Chinook Wawa trading language that was largely shaped by Salish words and phrases, the area has been a refuge for both ancient W̱SÁNEĆ and Cowichan communities along with mixed raced families where typically the Indigenous wife lost her legal status. This dynamic predominated along Beaver Point Road into the twentieth century. In the second half of the nineteenth century, Hawaiian homesteaders had a huge influence and intermarried into the Indigenous mixed-race families. As those large parcels were divided, Japanese settlers had huge impacts until they were interned away from the coast with their lands on ĆUÁN confiscated — leaving their cherry and plum trees to sometimes naturalize and hybridize.

2016 September and October City of Vancouver bus shelter poster (1/4), t’elem̓áy̓ [Halkomelem], dye transfer print, 47.25 inches x 68.25 inches, completed collaboratively as castle grünenfelder ingram

One of the legacies of this dynamic cultural mix from the nineteenth and early twentieth century are hedges created by the planting of cuttings from branches along with root material. Knowledge on these early hedge-making traditions and the specific individuals and families behind the old ĆUÁN hedges has yet to be compiled. Today, we have patterns in the land, genotypes that can be analyzed, and land registry and other historical sources locked in archives. In the meantime, old tree-growing practices can be reconstructed and tested.

2016 September and October City of Vancouver bus shelter poster (1/4), lhex̱wlhéx̱w [Sḵwx̱wú7mesh snichim], dye transfer print, 47.25 inches x 68.25 inches, completed collaboratively as castle grünenfelder ingram

In this experiment, ripe chokecherries (including the drupes in these photographs), were harvested, quickly eaten and chewed with molars, and then planted. In the case of this roadside chokecherry, that snapped after a heavy snow a few years later, there were Eurasian plum cultivars nearby and the drupes transmitted circumpolar hybrids. Six years after planting those drupes, four trees had taken root and were between 2 and 3 metres in height. In December 2021, the trees were pruned, the larger branches were used in sculptures, and the shorter (200 cm to 500 cm) and straighter branches to thrust deeply into mud on the edge of a ditch which carries particularly nutritious water draining a poorly functioning septic field. Similarly sized cuttings from willow along this same ditch were interspersed because of the growth hormones that they often exude. Four months later, the chokecherries are blossoming and leafing.

2021 August 19 hybrid chokecherry X Italian plum produced from the drupes photographed for the posters and then planted * P8190005 * These ‘plums’ are still chokecherries and are the size of large cherries with the chokecherry tartness.

Depending on the summer weather, half (in a cool year) to 10% (after a heat dome) these trees will take root and eventually fruit — providing more cuttings to spread these clones with the extensive ecological roles of chokecherry, especially for feeding pollinators, and with larger, tart fruit especially prized by people for fruit salads, jams, and chutneys. Success factors for rooting chokecherries cuttings in the mild climate around the Salish Sea appear to be enhanced with removing branches in the autumn while there is some sap in the wood and placing the sticks in mud that will stay wet for at least nine months out of the year. These hedgerows continue intercultural and aesthetic conversations across the land — with rows of trees, partially created by human beings, going back many thousands of years.

2021 August 19 hybrid chokecherry X yellow plum (possibly umeboshi or Shiro plums) produced from the drupes photographed for the posters and then planted * P8190008 * This plum-like chokecherry is several times the size of a chokecherry but with the same shape with the small hole on the dome of the drupe.

2022 April 18 chokecherry X Eurasian cultivar plum hybrid cuttings below KEXMIN field station, ĆUÁN * 1P3A1306