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

May 05, 2018 - June 16, 2018


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

Saturday May 5 - Saturday June 16, 2018

Opening Day: Saturday, May 5, 3:00 – 8:00pm

Towards Teaching a Human the Urban Weeds Alphabet
Performances at 3:00, 5:00 and 7:00pm
Performed 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.

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 encourage visitors to share their voice, and to speculate, imagine and contribute their ideas for a beyond human stewardship and weedy solidarity.

Since the appointment of Scott Pruitt in 2017, the US Environmental Protection Agency has removed nearly all mention of climate change from its website and strategic plan, has censored its own scientists, and has overturned 33+ rules and rolled back dozens of initiatives that protect human and more-than-human health. With an aim to foster public commentary that articulates a vision for environmental justice on behalf of all life, challenging the current administration's self-serving disregard for climate and the environment, the EPA invites you to call or text the Environmental Performance Agency’s hotline (240) 808-2372 or submit online at www.OnBehalfOf.Life, and leave a message for Scott Pruitt and US EPA officials on behalf of a life form who can’t.

Throughout the exhibition, the EPA: Department of Weedy Affairs invites the public to consider multi-species empathy, the ecological interdependence of all life, and to imagine a governmental agency that advocates for ecological justice in a multispecies entangled world. At the close of the exhibition, the EPA Agents 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 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 US EPA’s acronym, 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. Current EPA Agents include Catherine Grau, andrea haenggi, Ellie Irons, and Christopher Kennedy.


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:
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 – 4:30 PM
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.

FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2:00-5:00 PM
EPA Meets EPA Parade
Meeting Point:
Led by EPA Agents 

The Environmental Performance Agency will lead a public march to deliver an archive of comments, desires, and demands collected through our web platform, www.OnBehalfOf.Life, to the US EPA Headquarters in Washington DC.


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 decolonizing 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.

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 Ph.D. 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.