Emergent Naturecultures Roundtable: Getting Physical at the Feral Edges

What can we glean about our city from its messy edges where buildings crumble while rats, weeds, and microbes thrive? In this three-part roundtable, titled “Emergent Naturecultures,” we will work towards disrupting the binaries of nature and culture using Donna Haraway’s term “natureculture,” which insists that the two concepts cannot be separated. To honor the past and present, we will explore radical place-based actions that build solidarity between our bodies and the land. Each week, we will meet at the Pioneer Works garden gate on the corner of Pioneer and Conover Streets before we spend time with guest artists in the streets and vacant lots of Red Hook touching plants and reading suggested texts.

In our final session, we will explore the complex web of relations between the spontaneous life at the feral edges of Red Hook, made up of weeds, dust, discards, and detritus. The edges are traumatized and exploited yet they tend to be places for active interspecies collaboration. How might the sociality of weeds inform our physical presence? If we act as an embedded collective body, do we become part of the topography? We will find sources and resources through our labor, sweat, and the heightening of our senses as choreographer and artist Andrea Haenggi initiates movement situations for our bodies to come in contact with non-humans.

All are welcome. No training needed, just a willingness to be physical with the land and possibly each other. We will sit and lie on the sidewalk. Wear comfortable clothes that can handle a little dirt and dust.

Marisa Prefer is an educator, urban ecologist, and amateur herbalist who works across disciplines to translate knowledge between plant and human communities. Prefer has previously helped to run the Children’s Garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, is a current collaborator on “Carbon Sponge” at the New York Hall of Science, is the Programs & Permaculture Manager for floating food forest Swale, and is the Landscape Steward at Pioneer Works.

Andrea Haenggi (CH/USA) is a Brooklyn-based artist, choreographer, dancer, educator, and radical care sitter. Haenggi is known for mixing disciplines and modes of making. In the last few years, she has been in search for another kind of theater; an “ethno-choreo-botan-ography” to explore notions of colonialism, feminism, ecology, migration, labor, and care for a world beyond humans. Spontaneous urban weeds are her mentors, collaborators, and performers. Haenggi’s works have been presented in numerous theaters, galleries, and public spaces around the world, including the Queens Museum, Dance Theater Workshop, and MASS MoCA, all in North America, and the Society for Performing Arts in Lagos, Nigeria. As an educator, she is on the faculty of the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in New York. Haenggi holds an MFA in Creative Practice from Transart Institute/Plymouth University UK and is a Swiss Canton Solothurn Dance Prize 2008 recipient. She is the co-founder of the artist collective Environmental Performance Agency. Learn more about Haenggi’s projects, Weedy Choreography and 1067 Pacific People.