The Department of Weedy Affairs is an artwork and speculative proposition by the artist collective the Environmental Performance Agency (EPA) which imagines a governmental agency that is beyond human. Installed in May 2018 at Transformer, the exhibition offered visitors an opportunity to engage with and learn from spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds) through a toolkit of radical care practices and embodied science. The project also invited the public to submit a comment to the US Environmental Protection Agency using the web platform, OnBehalfOf.life, in the Gallery’s window vitrine. At the end of the show, the EPA collective led a public march to deliver this collection of comments, desires and demands on behalf of the weeds to the US EPA on the National Mall. The EPA meets the EPA.
The exhibition includes a living participatory sculpture featuring a weedy island of refugee plants from the marginal ecologies (eg. vacant lots, sidewalk cracks, highway medians) of Washington DC. An accompanying installation features liberated soil from the National Mall, deleted data from the US EPA’s website, tools and prompts that invite the visitor to experiment with and contemplate other ways of engaging with an urban multi-species environment. A recording booth and web platform encourages visitors to share their voice, and to speculate, imagine and contribute their ideas for a beyond human stewardship and weedy solidarity.
In collaboration with Ellie Irons, andrea haenggi, Catherine Grau, Dan Phiffer, Philip Ankley