The Environmental Performance Agency (EPA): Department of Weedy Affairs

May 05, 2018 - June 16, 2018

Overview

The Environmental Performance Agency (EPA): Department of Weedy Affairs

Saturday May 5 - Saturday June 16, 2018

Opening Day: Saturday, May 5, 12:00 – 8:00pm​


Opening Day Performances
Teaching a Human the Urban Weeds Alphabet
3:00, 5:00 and 7:00pm 
Meeting Point: transformer (1404 P Street NW)
Led by EPA Agent: andrea haenggi

Transformer is proud to present The Department of Weedy Affairs, an exhibition and series of programmatic performances and workshops led by the Environmental Performance Agency (EPA), an artist collective which imagines a governmental agency that is beyond human. Offering visitors an opportunity to engage with and learn from spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds) through a toolkit of radical care practices and embodied science. Throughout the course of the exhibition, the public is invited to submit a comment to the US Environmental Protection Agency using a recording booth and web platform, OnBehalfOf.life, in the Gallery’s window vitrine. At the end of the show, the EPA collective will lead a public march to deliver the 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 (ex. 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.

The Environmental Performance Agency was formed in response to the proposed defunding of the US Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA’s primary goal is to shift thinking around the terms environment, performance, and agency – using artistic, social, and embodied / kinesthetic practices to advocate for the agency of all living performers co-creating our environment, specifically through the lens of spontaneous urban plants, native or migrant. Since launching in March 2017, the EPA has developed a range of workshops and artworks exploring interspecies social engagement and human-nonhuman solidarity. This includes activities such as fostering wild plant literacy, developing scores for movement and awareness explorations, DIY bioremediation, public (performative / kinesthetic) fieldwork, and interspecies storytelling for a world beyond human.​

Experiments/Programming:

Sunday May 20, 2:00 – 5:00 pm
Crack The Patriarchy: Moving, Thinking and Feeling with Plants that Break Through Cracks in Asphalt
Meeting Point:
National Museum of Women in the Arts
Led by EPA agents Catherine Grau and Andrea Haenggi

How can we articulate, ally with, and reclaim the more-than-binary ways of being that are cracking the patriarchy?
In this 2-hour workshop we will turn our focus to the plants that break through the asphalt; plants that are unwilling to obey, to be controlled or domesticated - the so-called weeds. We will engage with the ‘weedy cracks landscape’ surrounding the U.S EPA Headquarter through movement and storytelling. Exploring words such as patriarchy, power, resistance, pesticides, land ownership in relation to words such as weedy feminine, witch, cunt, nasty and other terms floating around in our personal and political landscape.

All bodies, abilities, and resisters of the patriarchy welcome! Show up with a willingness to move and a curiosity to dive into these issues through the body. 


Saturday, June 9, 2:00 - 4:30pm
Weedy Resistance: A Weedy Walking Tour on the National Mall
Meeting Point:
Constitution Avenue NW and 12th Street NW, Washington DC
Led by EPA Agents Ellie Irons and Christopher Kennedy

Join members of the artist collective the Environmental Performance Agency for a weedy walking tour on the National Mall. Through movement research, observation, and conversation, we’ll explore how spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds) are actively resisting the monoculture lawn maintained by the US National Park Service. As we walk and explore together, we’ll engage in simple movement scores, using our bodies to acknowledge and investigate the unwanted flora that has made its home among memorials and monuments. Along the way, we’ll consider how the language we use to classify these organisms as “invasive”, “exotic” and “alien” has troubling parallels to contemporary practices and policies that marginalize human immigrant communities in the United States. Together we hope to consider what these nonhuman species can teach us about political and cultural organizing as we build new forms of solidarity and collective stewardship for the so-called Anthropocene age.
 

ARTIST BIOS 

The Environmental Performance Agency (EPA) is an artist collective founded in 2017 and named in response to the proposed defunding of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Appropriating the acronym EPA, the collective’s primary goal is to shift thinking around the terms environment, performance, and agency – using artistic, social, and embodied / kinesthetic practices to advocate for the agency of all living performers co-creating our environment, specifically through the lens of spontaneous urban plants, native or migrant. Current EPA Agents include Catherine Grau, andrea haenggi, Ellie Irons, and Christopher Kennedy.

Catherine Grau is a Queens-based artist and EPA agent. In her predominantly collaborative practice, she fosters embodied research methodologies, collective experiences and intimate encounters that aim to generate processes of de-colonizing and unlearning anthropocentric paradigms.

andrea haenggi has a research-based creative practice she calls Ethno-choreo-botan-ography that employs her roles as a choreographer, interdisciplinary artist, dancer, radical care sitter, somatic educator and EPA agent. Her sensual-bodily-tough works confront audiences with a world beyond humans. http://weedychoreography.com

Ellie Irons is an artist, educator, and EPA-agent based in Brooklyn & Troy, NY. She works in a variety of media, from drawing to gardening, to reveal how human and nonhuman lives intertwine with ecological systems. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Electronic Arts at RPI in Troy, NY.

Christopher Lee Kennedy is a Brooklyn-based transdisciplinary artist, educator and EPA agent who creates site-specific projects that examine conventional notions of ‘Nature’ and the biocultural possibility of interspecies agency and collaboration. He is currently a part time faculty member at Parson School of Design, The New School.