project synopsis & site map

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.

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.

montage decolonial

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 agriculture culture

This site only holds the work of Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram. Collaborative work completed in this project is posted at www.castlegrunenfelderingram.space/perdu.

permaculture impermanent culture

In using this site, the categories listed on the left, seen after further scrolling, link to particular aspects of project development and specific works. Each of these categories represents a longer-term project that we hope to explore more fully in coming years.

Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram of castle grünenfelder ingram

decolonial public art

Canada Council logo

A portion of the total travel costs of Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram has been paid by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Canada Council logo

The bulk of support to complete this work is being provided by the Utopiana artist centre of Geneva which is supported by an array of local and regional agencies and organizations.

utopiana demolition Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

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

Nearly lost: Re-introducing images of Vancouver’s native, Salish fruit trees

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lhexwlhéxw | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana” installed in Vancouver at Station & Terminal, late October and early November 2016, photograph by Alex Grünenfelder

 

Nearly lost: Re-introducing images of Vancouver’s native fruit trees

host
City of Vancouver Public Art Program

 

initial posters in the ongoing ‘Nearly Lost’ project

4 different posters installed in 20 bus shelters with the poster dimension 47.25 inches x 68.25 inches.

 

installation & locations
October 10 to November 7, 2016 (with locations attached)

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authorship
castle grünenfelder ingram (Julian Castle, Alex Grünenfelder, and Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram with this project involving conceptualization by all three artists, research, photographing, and initial design conceptualization by Grünenfelder and Brochu-Ingram, text by Brochu-Ingram, and final designs and electronic conveyance by Grünenfelder)

castle grünenfelder ingram is a collective of three working on the cusp of public art, urban design, sustainability transitions, and intercultural conversations especially around First Nations legacies in public space and local territories. Only working together for two years, our individual work in Vancouver goes back decades along with other projects and installations in Kamloops, New York, London UK, Seoul, Geneva, and Prince George. As one of our projects, we coordinate KEXMIN field station, on Salt Spring Island, as a centre for research and learning spanning traditional indigenous knowledge and contemporary science for environmental planning, ecological design, public art and other forms of contemporary cultural production with a focus on the Salish Sea and its Gulf and San Juan Islands between the mainland of the North American West Coast and Vancouver Island.

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castle grünenfelder ingram, 2016 Nearly lost poster #3 kwu7upay Pacific crabapple Malus fusca, installed in Vancouver at Commercial & Adanac, late October and early November 2016, photograph by Laiwan

 

text from project proposal

Nearly lost: Re-introducing images of Vancouver’s native fruit trees We propose large 2D imagery especially at bus stops, with video loop installations also possible for the video screens, of fruit and blossoms of several of the native fruit trees that have existed and continue to survive in the City of Vancouver — and that are of continued interest for First Native use, stewardship, and cultivation. Low resolution photographs would be enlarged, slightly saturated, and ‘montaged’ with educational text in English, Halkomelem (Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh snichim (Squamish) along with other widely spoken languages, and botanical Latin. For the 2015-2016, we would be able focus on making a number of montage posters celebrating two of the most common native fruit trees and more extensive Salish orchards, Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca, and chokecherry, Prunus virginiana ssp. demissa. Both of this crabapple species and this subspecies of chokecherry are limited to coastal ecosystems in BC, Alaska, and Washington State.

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text on posters
four different posters with large type with,

1. lhexwlhéxw | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana

2. t’elemay (with two vertical accents over ‘m’ and ‘y’ and an acute accent over the ‘a’) | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana

3. ḵwu7úpay (with a vertical accent over the ‘y’) | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca

4. qwa’upulhp | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca

Along with the following headings is the following text for respective poster:

1. lhexwlhéxw | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana

One of the Salish names for chokecherry is lhexwlhéxw in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ Downriver dialect of Halkomelem language.

2. t’elemay (with two vertical accents over ‘m’ and ‘y’ and an acute accent over the ‘a’) | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana

One of the Salish names for chokecherry is t’elemay (with two vertical accents over ‘m’ and ‘y’ and an acute accent over the ‘a’) in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh snichim language.

3. ḵwu7úpay (with a vertical accent over the ‘y’) | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca One of the Salish names for Pacific crabapple is ḵwu7úpay (with a vertical accent over the ‘y’) in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh snichim language.

4. qwa’upulhp | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca One of the Salish names for Pacific crabapple is qwa’upulhp in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ Downriver dialect of Halkomelem language.

2016-sept-kwu7upay-crabapple-castle_grunenfelder_ingram

For the two posters on chokecherry, there is the following text: Chokecherry has been a major source of fruit and medicinal bark for indigenous bark for indigenous peoples on the West Cost. Trees continue to be owned, stewarded and harvested by families of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth First Nations within today’s City of Vancouver.

For the two posters on Pacific crabapple, there is the following text: Pacific crabapple has been a major source of fruit and medicinal bark for indigenous bark for indigenous peoples on the West Cost. Trees continue to be owned, stewarded and harvested by families of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth First Nations within today’s City of Vancouver. For the two posters on chokecherry, there is the following text: Chokecherry has been a major source of fruit and medicinal bark for indigenous bark for indigenous peoples on the West Cost. Trees continue to be owned, stewarded and harvested by families of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth First Nations within today’s City of Vancouver. For the two posters on Pacific crabapple, there is the following text: Pacific crabapple has been a major source of fruit and medicinal bark for indigenous bark for indigenous peoples on the West Cost. Trees continue to be owned, stewarded and harvested by families of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth First Nations within today’s City of Vancouver.

2016-sept-qwaupulhp-crabapple-castle_grunenfelder_ingram

All four posters have the following text: This species is being studied at KEXMIN field station, a centre for conversations spanning traditional indigenous knowledge, modern science, and contemporary art — a project of castle grünenfelder ingram (Julian Castle, Alex Grünenfelder and Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram). The following text was provided by the City of Vancouver: Commissioned as part of the series Coastal City for the 25th Anniversary of the City of Vancouver Public Art Program Vancouver.ca/platform2016

media
Inkjet printer on paper photographing
The photographs in the attached images of the posters were photographed jointly by Alex Grünenfelder and Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram. All of the photographs of the posters installed in the bus shelters were taken by by Alex Grünenfelder.

fabricators / suppliers
OUTFRONT MEDIA Decaux in cooperation with
the printer, LinxPrint, as service-providers to the City of Vancouver

2016-sept-telemay-chokecherry-castle_grunenfelder_ingram

 

castle-grunenfelder-ingram-2016-nearly-lost-poster-3-kwu7upay-nanaimo-e-3rd-img_0348

castle grünenfelder ingram, 2016 Nearly lost poster #3 kwu7upay Pacific crabapple Malus fusca, installed in Vancouver at Nanaimo & East 3rd, late October and early November 2016, photograph by Laiwan

 

castle-grunenfelder-ingram-2016-nearly-lost-poster-4-qwaupulhp

castle grünenfelder ingram, 2016 Nearly lost poster #4 qwa’upulhp | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca, installed in Vancouver at King Edward & Ontario, late October and early November 2016,  photograph by Sally Ogis

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Mnidoo Mnising | chokecherry | crossroad: a multi-site installation with chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, proposed for a bicycle trail on Manitoulin Island, Ontario

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proposal by castle grünenfelder ingram
Mnidoo Mnising | chokecherry | crossroad: a multi-site installation with chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, proposed for a bicycle trail on Manitoulin Island, Ontario

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project concept

Chokecherry [asasawemin [fruit] and asasaweminagaawanzh [bush] in Ojibway, Prunus virginiana in Latin] has been crucial to all of the peoples who have enjoyed Mnidoo Mnising since the receding of the glaciers and the emergence of the island. Chokecherry fruit has been important to local communities as is the medicinal bark. This proposal for public art envisions several installations across the sites available involving:

1. already-established or planted groves of chokecherry at a relatively small scale such as around 5 meters by 5 meters (17 feet x 17 feet);

2. the trees surrounded by abstractions of different chokecherry forms made into permanent sculpture;

3. sculptural elements fabricated from local recycled and repurposed material (mainly wood and metal, no plastic, some paint) in collaboration with local elders and craftspeople;

4. so that each sculpture protects respective groves;

5. along with two plaques of roughly 1 m x 1 x, one more general information about the project, and the other plaque providing information to specific to each installation;

6. text in five languages: Anishnaabeg (Ojibwe), Odawa, Potawatomi, English, and French;

7. an archive and website of consultations with elders and fabricators (who would be presented as collaborating artists) and;

8. performances and other events adjacent to some of the installation sites, related to chokecherry, that would be documented in the archive and on the website —

with two possible manifestations of this project:

a. a larger, $50,000 work with 3 or 4 sites plus chokecherry trees planted or already established, 4 sculptural and text installations with each sculpture up to 2 to 3 metres in height or

b. a smaller $30,000 with 2 sites plus chokecherry trees planted or already established, 2 sculptural and text installations with sculptural elements smaller such as 1 to 2 metres in height and with the possibility of a second castle grünenfelder ingram work for some of these sites generating a soundscape.

This concept proposal envisions elders and fabricators who would be acknowledged as collaborating artists with a transparent and fair, financial formula for fees to these individuals, as part of the final project budget.

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inspirations

Out on the West Coast, our artist collective and field station researchers have been revisiting (and protecting and planting) chokecherry for several years as part of cultural revival of knowledge of traditional fruit and medicinals, on one hand, and for providing a point for intercultural dialogue on the other hand. In October and November of 2016, we have posters in bus-shelters, funded by the City of Vancouver, acknowledging that indigenous families continue to steward, harvest, and own chokecherry and Pacific crabapple.

This particular proposal is to explore divergent experiences of chokecherry that today are relevant to both indigenous and settle people:

the numerous traditional indigenous experiences of chokecherry that extend from harvesting of fruit and bark to protection and stewardship, including a worldview that acknowledges these trees and bushes as crucial relations within a culture of gratitude and respect

and

the modern scientific and environmentalist view of chokecherry as one of the first fruit trees in Canada that re-established after the Ice Age with today’s role being increasingly crucial for pollinators and birds. And from the standpoint of the Canada Council acknowledgements of the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, this one species of chokecherry is the only tree and shrub that occurs in any province and territory of Canada.

And in the spirit of an alternative acknowledgement of Confederation, for First Nations, we celebrate Mnidoo Mnising as the centre, the crossroad, for chokecherry, and knowledge of this important fruit and tree, on this continent.

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some chokecherry forms

The forms of the chokecherry tree, that could be explored, abstracted, and re-iterated around the groves, primarily in metal and wood, would involve recombining some of the following outlines:

1. fruit;

2. blossoms;

3. leaves;

4. trunks;

5. fruit – twigs – branches;

6. bark; and

7. seedlings.

While the actual chokecherry trees are around or near the installations, the sculptures themselves would recombine some of the key lines in the forms and biology of these trees with homages to the three aesthetic movements that have influenced us most:

a. minimalist Coast Salish wood carving that is more austere and abstract that carving further north and west on the Pacific coast;

b. relatively minimalist wood, often log, constructions once common in Métis communities particularly in far north-western Canada rather then in more populous, agricultural areas of the Prairies; and

c. early Swiss Modernism emphasizing clean, rectangular forms.

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collaborative processes with local elders and fabricators

One of us grew up on the edge of an Indian Reserve as part of a Salish-speaking First Nation that has had remarkable success at closing down a residential school (in 1960 with one of us in this collective present), revitalizing their language, and nurturing public art that transmits contentious territorial and cultural experiences (for some non-indigenous people). He has spent decades working with over a score of First Nations in numerous communities. And we are well aware of the garbage disposal issues in many remote communities. So while we have worked with numerous other First Nations artists and craftspeople, we do not have any illusions that working with elders and fabricators on Manitoulin Island would not always be easy. But chokecherry trees can bring us together in new dialogues in cooperation with 4elements Living Arts. So the selection and fabrication of found objects could well involve a wide range of people from the artists to elders who are fabricators to young people supervised by elders and even to school children.

As for pay for advising elders and local fabricators, honorariums were be proposed for a small number of days with elders as advised by 4elements Living Arts. As for pay for community members, all of the artists and local participants, including fabricators, would be asked to work for the same minimum wage in order for there to be a travel and materials budget to complete these installations. Again, one us has spend much of his life working with reserve communities and with negotiating fair exchanges – that would warrant supervision by 4elements Living Arts.

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choice of local materials

This is perhaps the biggest unknown of this particular proposal. Are there reusable materials on the island that are durable, beautiful, ‘clean’ as in not toxic, and of interest to local fabricators – especially those with indigenous knowledge? Probably there are. But the research phase, our field work after being offered a commission, might become too time-consuming. So by May of 2017 and if there were insufficient, discarded wood, metal, stone, and other local material for these installations, the ‘fall back’ would be working with local metal and wood workers with much of the labour completed by Brochu-Ingram and Grünenfelder. But in such an area with a rich history of cultural production, we hope to spark some interest from elders and school classes to become involved and make this project, in part, community-based.

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collective statement

castle grünenfelder ingram is a collective of three working on the cusp of public art, urban design, sustainability transitions, and intercultural conversations especially around First Nations legacies in public space and local territories. Only working together for two years, our individual work in Vancouver goes back decades along with other projects and installations in Kamloops, New York, London UK, Seoul, Geneva, and Prince George.

As one of our projects, we coordinate KEXMIN field station, on Salt Spring Island, as a centre for research and learning spanning traditional indigenous knowledge and contemporary science for environmental planning, ecological design, public art and other forms of contemporary cultural production with a focus on the Salish Sea and its Gulf and San Juan Islands between the mainland of the North American West Coast and Vancouver Island.

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