Archive of the ecological future


“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.”


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, a networked, data-gathering structure on Swale. 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. Many other artists participated, including Sally BozzutoDavid KimChihao YoAdam FrezzaTerri ChiaoBrian House, Nupur Mathur, Hyojin Yoo and Ayodamola Okunseinde.


Inside the Greenhouse Theater, Delta_Ark and Biome arts build the primary installation: The Archive of the Ecological Future. The A.E.F. is a hub for information about Swale, Biome Arts and the organizations that have participated in Swale. The Archive has two primary 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.) an organization, (b.) paired with a plant on swale and (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, when 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.