Archive of the ecological future

A DATA GATHERING PERFORMANCE CENTER FOR MARY MATTINGLY’S ‘SWALE’

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life.”

A FLOATING FARM

Mary Mattingly's Swale is a floating food forest built atop a barge that travels to piers in New York City, offering educational programming and welcoming visitors to harvest herbs, fruits and vegetables for free. In the summer of 2014, Delta_Ark and Biome Arts co-organized a large scale collaborative project: a month-long symposium on ecology, technology and autonomy that culminated in the construction of the Green House Theater. This structure served as a performance space, activist meeting hall, gallery, physical dashboard for environmental and agricultural data from the farm, as well as a platform for other artworks.

A ROGUE DATA CENTER

Inside the Greenhouse Theater, Delta_Ark and Biome arts build the primary installation: The Archive of the Ecological Future. The Archive has two sections. The Data Section contains a record of all data gathered at Swale during the summer of 2016; e.g., wind speed, wind direction, location, soil moisture, etc. The Entry section contains (a.) information on a plant grown on swale, (b.) paired with the name of an organization that participated in the project, along with (c.) a poetic text clipped from the website of that organization. Throughout the month-long symposium, the archive was available online and also on site, where it was projected into a column of hanging fabric within The Greenhouse Theater. Participating artists used the archive as a jumping off point for the construction of their own works.