Eco-Art/Media Pop-up Fair – Friday, March 31, 2017

eco-art-fair-graphicOur annual Eco-Art/Media Festival this year will be a pop-up art fair. Come and join us in the FES Lounge on Friday, March 31 anytime between 11:00 and 3:00. There will be several eco-art/media activity stations for you to make ‘zines, art cards, collages of various kinds, exquisite corpse writing, and more.

A good spread of snacks will be available. So come and share food and imagination. A wonderful way to round out the semestre.

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Fall 2016 Culture Jammming Program

Consider attending one or more of our Fall culture jammming sessions – Thursdays from 12:30 – 2:00 in Wild Garden:

  • October 6: DIGITAL STORYTELLING with Rani Sanderson
  • October 13: CRAFTIVISM with Julia Fursova
  • October 20: ‘ZINES with chris cavanagh
  • November 3: COLLECTIVE MURALS with chris cavanagh
  • November 10: PUPPETS with TBA
  • November 17: MAPPING with chris cavanagh
  • November 24: JOURNALLING & BOOKBINDING with chris cavanagh

more info

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Wunderkammer Heritage and WildGarden Reinvention

The WildGarden Wunderkammer is a dissident and playful appropriation and reinvention of the “Cabinet of Curiosities” first seen in 16th C Europe. The particulars of these collections crossed the di- vides between the natural, the artificial and scientific inquiry. Wunderkammers were designed to provoke wonder and delight in the viewer, while simultaneously bolstering the social status of the collector. They emerge from the confluence (or ganma) of alchemy, science, and art and have all the usual contradictions of the practices of dominating Western culture. Thus our dissident dialogue.

Collective eco-arts projects are a means of practicing carnivalesque dialogue. One form developed by dian marino, who taught at York and FES for 20 years, until her death in 1993, is the Earthblanket, a collective mural and environmental education project that dian conceived of as making “blankets” with which to comfort our ailing world. The making of collective ‘zines as a form of classroom dia- logue has also been developed by chris cavanagh as well as rein- vented by Tim Leduc as a dialogue activity in the creation of the MES Plan of Study.

WildGarden’s Wunderkammer project asks you to consider what your curiosity about the world reveals. For your inspiration, download the wunderkammer zine.

Earthblanket inspired by dian marino


For your inspiration: Play with these Ideas

A Rainforest of Moveable Relations
Naturecultures & Environmental Studies

dian marino, writes:

Mine is not an unrelenting story of resistance. I see myself as very much embedded in my community, with all the complexities that accompany a sense of place.

The story of my education is like other stories, very untidy, cluttered with moments of clarity and simplicity as well as with curiously unfinished or incomplete thoughts. There is a wildness in me and the world I am a part of, which I have to respect, and at the same time I know I have undergone a process of social construction as an artist and educator.

My personal – and selective – history is not, then, a dichotomous development but rather a rain forest of moveable relations. (Landscape for an Easily Influenced Mind in Wild Garden: art, education, and the culture of resistance (Toronto: BTL, 1997), pp. 19-20.

What do you see in your rainforest of moveable relations?

Inspiration: Joseph Cornell Boxes

Reënchanting Available Materials
untitled (Can Major Constellation)

untitled (Can Major Constellation)

A self taught artist, Cornell is one of the most celebrated makers of boxed assemblages alternatively known as ‘shadow boxes’, memory boxes, or ‘poetic theatres’. Created from carefully juxtaposed found objects, Cornell made boxes about things we cannot see: ideas, memories, fantasies, and dreams.

Untitled (Hotel Eden)

Untitled (Hotel Eden)

Noël Sturgeon, Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies writes:

Climate change, water scarcity, failing food systems, energy challenges, suburban sprawl, pollution, overconsumption, waste, species extinction – understanding the environment has never been more important. The Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) at York University is the place to critically examine these and other environmental problems and to craft solutions that are just and sustainable. …

From ecology to community arts, from environmental policy and planning to environmental education and philosophy, from international development to green business, from animal rights to wetlands restoration, from tropical forest preservation to thinking environ- mentally through writing, from indigenous studies to new energy technologies, FES offers exciting, innovative, and interdisciplinary programs …

From Deans Message 

What does “environment” mean to you? What is most urgent to confront? What is your hope for the future?

Inspiration: Yinka Shonibare’s ‘post-colonial’ hybrids

Global Flows


Yinka Shonibare identifies as a “post-colonial hybrid.” He tackles the legacies of colonialism, global movements and intersected identities through his signature medium, Dutch batik fabric. Dutch wax fabrics, designed in the former-Dutch colony Indonesia and manufactured in Manchester, England, ended up as an

export to Africa, thus inventing an “African” identity through fashion. “It’s the fallacy of that signification that I like, it’s the way I view culture – it’s an artificial construct.



Donna Haraway challenges the common binary opposition of na- ture/culture by theorizing “natureculture” as not two things but one and multiple. What we call “nature” is determined by culture.

From When Species Meet (2008, Univ. of Minnesota Press):

In layers of history, layers of biology, layers of naturecultures, complexity is the name of our game. We are both the freedom- hungry offspring of conquest, products of white settler colonies, leaping over hurdles and crawling through tunnels on the playing field. (p. 16)

Or maybe it is just my monomania to place baboons and humans together in situated histories, situated naturecultures, in which all the actors become who they are in the dance of relating, not from scratch, not ex nihilo, but full of the patterns of their sometimes- joined, sometimes-separate heritages both before and lateral to this encounter. All the dancers are redone through the patterns they enact. (p.25)

Ordinary identities emerge and are rightly cherished, but they remain always a relational web opening to non-Euclidean pasts, presents, and futures. The ordinary is a multipartner mud dance issuing from and in entangled species. It is turtles all the way down; the partners do not preexist their constitutive intra-action at every folded layer of time and space. These are the contagions and infections that wound the primary narcissism of those who still dream of human exceptionalism. These are also the cobblings together that give meaning to the “becoming with” of companion species in naturecultures. Cum panis, messmates, to look and to look back, to have truck with: those are the names of my game. (p.32)

Where in natureculture are you situated?

Inspiration: Mark Dion’s Cabinets of Curiosities

Modern Archeology
New England Digs

New England Digs

Dion mimics the process recapturing wonder of the early naturalists and amateur archeologists by ‘performing’ archaeological digs, natural history forays and museum curation and display. Through the use of allegory and humour, Dion creates a space for dialogue between con- temporary culture and Western systems of classification.

new england digs 2

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Resistance Through Rituals

On September 16, 2015 Wild Garden teamed with the Faith, Art and Activism Festival to podcast “Resistance Through Rituals” an open discussion on rituals, liturgy and political performance.


What do rituals look like in 21st century North America? What could they offer today’s social justice movements, either as a mode of political performance or as the basis for new, communal liturgies of protest?

On September 16th, activist/academic Andrew Winchur, who has analyzed the rituals of recent strikes at York University and UofT, was joined by André Forget and Andrea Budgey to discuss protest as liturgy and the social power of political performance.

Click here to listen to a recording of the full discussion.

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Picket Parade

The recent strike by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 3903, was not solely a political action against York’s administration. It was also a cultural event, in which union members, their allies and a wider public interrogated complex social and economic dynamics. Each of the four artists in this exhibition have used their own creative practices to dramatize this act of interrogation, and invite audiences to consider the strike—its causes, its political and social environments, its performance of protest, its injustices—from new and surprising angles.

Andrew Winchur – “Provocative Lines”
Photography and mixed media


My daily writing exercise on the CUPE picket lines was an attempt to introduce a literary conversation into the union’s direct action against York University. Rather than try to command the space by means of oral recital, I used chalk to physically inscribe each poem on the build environment. This leant my work a nebulous and open-ended quality; I consciously declined to signal a “start” or “end” to these performances, and picketers and passersby were left to engage (or ignore) each text on their own terms.


Provocative Lines presents a photographic archive of these original performances, but it also calls for the conversation to continue and change. Visitors are invited to use the blank paper and chalk to create poems, lyrics, short prose or pictures that somehow respond to the work presented here. (See below.) There are no criteria and no restrictions.


(Click here to see an earlier iteration of this project.)


Bernadette Wycks – ““Puppet Insurgence: The People of York versus the Commodification of Public Education”
Mixed media puppet, banner and masks



NM Livingston – This is what the end of a strike looks like


Medium: Glossy B & W – white border – digital photographic prints – mounted on Russian  Birch panels.
Description: Series recorded on Tuesday, 31 March 2015 for I & I.


Location: The Rexall Centre and surrounds
Number and dimensions of pieces: 9 – 5” X 7” photographs mounted on 8” x 10” Panels
Assembled  Thursday August 27, 2015 for Picket Parade in the Zig-Zag Gallery ℅ Wild Garden Media Centre Faculty of Environmental Studies York University

For an earlier iteration of the project click here. 


Carmen Ocampo Velazquez – “Of Textures and Detextures”
Mixed media sculpture


This installation recalls the interactive Picket Parade performance which happened  after the strike. It explores the tension between  invisible barriers that block us from being present and the awakening through the senses that happens when we make it through those barriers.


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FES Podcast Workshop

Amanda Di Battista and Wild Garden Media Centre teamed up for a one day workshop on Wednesday, September 9th, from 10-1pm. Read below for useful tips, discussion summaries, and useful links.



Starting with her own experience with CoHearence—a first-rate podcast she produces in conjunction with Andrew Mark—Amanda led participants through the basics of conducting an effective interview, mic setups, tech troubleshooting, before concluding with a hands-on roleplaying exercise.

One point reiterated several times was the need to reflect on the reasons for podcasting before recording and programming. It is worth asking, for instance:

  • What is your content? Why does it need to be disseminated?
  • Why will your podcast be interesting?
  • What other sounds will you use besides voices?
  • Is this the best way to convey your ideas?
  • Who do you want to interview (if anyone)?

Starting Recording

Before recording, it is also worth capturing verbal consent from interview subjects. Not only is this a means of protecting oneself against charges of libel — it is also an easy way to label tapes and capture the names of participants.

There are also many roles that will need to be divided up:

  • Producer
  • Director
  • Interviewer
  • Researcher
  • Fact Checker
  • Script Writer
  • Script Editor
  • Sound Editor
  • Social Designer
  • Narrator/Host

After an interview has been recorded, it might be worth transcribing in order to then be able to edit, compile and rearrange.


Here are links to some of the programs and resources we talked about.

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GA Meeting and Rad-Art Follow-up

The 2015 Fall term is off to an impressive start. On Wednesday, September 23rd Graduate Assistants (GAs) from several major arts collectives  met for the first time to co-ordinate their organizing work and build future partnerships. A week later the official follow-up to Rad-Art Talkback built on this momentum by bringing MES activists, PhD students and faculty together to discuss next steps and concrete workplans.  Read below for summaries, contact information — and ways for you to get involved.

Collective GA Meeting – Wednesday, September 23rd


Two weeks ago, representatives from Wild Garden, Xroads and Las Nubes met face-to-face for the first time and began the work of discovering common interests and potential collaborations. Using a simple mapping exercise participants were able to “cluster” their interests and involvements in the arts, which provided a useful road map for the scope and distribution of present arts interests at FES.

IMG_20150923_130333845_HDR IMG_20150923_130341432_HDR IMG_20150923_130347173 IMG_20150923_130358904

There was also agreement on the need to provide email contacts for each arts organization, to encourage better communication and collaboration.

Wild Garden Media Centre
Chris Cavanagh —

Xroads Art Gallery
Bernadette Wycks —

Las Nubes Project
Adlar —

UnderCurrents: Journal of Critical Environmental Studies
Sarah Ianicello —

Environmental Music Collective
Mark Reese —

(Don’t forget that the Wild Garden Art Park Facebook page  is also a resource for communicating with peers.)

Rad-Art Talkback 2 – Thursday, October 1st

This past week, students and faculty gathered to discuss the progress made since our first meeting in May, and to sort out the next steps for arts organizing at FES.


Here are some of the action items we discussed:

  • Wild Garden’s Brown Bag Thursdays could organize further presentations and workshops for the Winter 2015-16 term, by reaching out to PhD students via the PhD listserve.
  • Organizers with “Work in Common” could pursue a collaboration with the environmental music collective on ambient music playlists.
  • GESSA could collaborate with Cinema Politica on a documentary series in HNES 109.
  • Art Park will be changed from a Facebook page to a group, to better promote member postings.
  • FES could partner with the Faculty of Education on a conference centred on arts and education.
  • A WordPress tag cloud could be organized for the Wild Garden site, to visualize the various arts interests of faculty and students.
  • A research methodologies workshop is needed, to offer practical skills and guidance to students.
  • Organizers with Wild Garden will meet to discuss last month’s podcast workshop with Amanda di Battista, with an eye to adapting her talk for future demos.
  • Wild Garden can offer artists exhibiting work in Xroads a “virtual gallery space,” in the form of a WordPress webpage, where they can offer photo examples of their work, artist statements, etc.

There was also discussion of upcoming arts-related programming and opportunities at FES.


  • In the next few weeks, Maloca will be hosting a Harvest Festival, featuring musical performances, storytelling and chalk poetry writing. Stay tuned for details!
  • The first Work in Common is scheduled for this coming Tuesday, October 6th, in HNES 109, 11:30-2:30. WIC will be a weekly event that attempts to create a collective space for study and academic work. Materials from Wild Garden will still be made available for arts practice, and there will be a kick-ass soundtrack of evocative, ambient music.
  • Xroads currently features “The Vibrant Inside” by The Red Wagon Collective / Monday Art Group, a social practice arts project which takes place at a women’s shelter in a gentrifying Toronto neighbourhood.
  • PhD student Andrew Zealley has organized This is Not Art Therapy, an artist residency/internship program that provides an arts practice-led research environment for both practicing artists and graduate level artist-researchers seeking residency and/or internship requirements, creative experience within an ASO space, and with the issues and fields of study presented by HIV/AIDS and its intersectionalities — including health, race, gender, LGBTTI2QQ orientations, disability, poverty, harm reduction, social determinants of health, social justice, biopolitics, and queer ecology.


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