Sunday, October 7, 2007

Pocket Utopia inaugurates it's first public art project

Here are journal entries from Megan Whiteford's online journal describing the thoughts behind her greenbomb public art project and it's process to date.

The Green Bomb Project

the night before
Posted on 2007.10.06 at 00:23

1973: Liz Christy throws seed grenades made of vegetation, fertilizer, and water over New York City fences, sparking the Guerrilla Gardening movement
After 35 years the space she targeted is still managed and protected by the city park department

As an artist, I am interested in the relationship and distance between modern human and her/his environment. With this gardening piece, I hope to bridge that gap. An interesting and pertinent artist to check out is Kathryn Miller at Her pieces approach similar ideas to the Green Bomb Project, such as the issues of native species, habitat, and ecological concern. I feel that we are both concerned with the life support local communities, not to mention she had a similar project of seed bombing at Pomona College, one of my Claremont College alma maters.

My piece took on the name 'green bombs' but really I'm more concerned with getting people involved with their community of Bushwick and with gardening than with the history and science of green bombing. Before the concept of this piece I was completely unaware of the history of 'green bombing.' If these seeds aren't successful, I hope that everyone still keeps an interest in bringing native vegetation back to this city. Not every lot has to become American Apparel. This is a community-building piece and a push to encourage everyone to envision open spaces as opportunities for true growth, to take on space as their own (rightfully), and to challenge the notion of public space with active public participation.

Hope to see you tomorrow

The Beginning
Posted on 2007.10.03 at 00:20
The Green Bomb Project is brought to the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn, NYC through the mind of Meg Whiteford with the help of Pocket Utopia Gallery. This public arts initiative is a highly conceptual attempt to bring native species back to Brooklyn through guerrilla gardening. The idea is for folks to pick up a ‘bomb’ at Pocket Utopia, located at 1037 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn. They will then drop the ‘bomb’ in any desired location: preferably someplace partially sunny to sunny in an area that looks like it could use some flora! There will be a map at the gallery for guerilla gardeners to pinpoint the location of their plants. Gardeners are highly encouraged to take photos, write to and post to this blog! It is my hope that through this project, we can bring some green back to the city, to beautify our everyday lives, and to being to live backwardly again: from the root up.

Happy Planting

Nature of the seeds: Columbine

Columbine is native to New York City. Choosing native plants is highly important when planning a garden, as not only will they naturally thrive with minimal care, they won’t disturb other plants and wildlife. In addition, native plants attract pollinators to spread the seeds, propagating growth on numerous levels. Native plants clean the air, act as natural erosion control, and contribute to the general health of our ecosystem.

Only 62% of the original 2, 179 native plant species of New York City exist today.

Columbine will do well in the dry soil of NYC. Because it occurs naturally in our growing region (Zone 7), it can withstand the humid summers and freezing winters. Just be sure to keep the plant well watered and you should enjoy beautiful flowers, bees, birds, and butterflies.

The seeds like being cold so planting them around the first frost is a great idea. Hopefully, with a little patience and care, the plants will bloom in spring. If not, don't despair; many perennial (re-occurring) plants can take up to a year to bear leaves!

Just enjoy the process and I encourage you all to expand your gardens.

Posted on 2007.10.06 at 21:49

I installed the piece today at Pocket Utopia in Bushwick. The response was really encouraging. This gallery is such a warm and unique space that truly understands the social purpose of art making. The highlight was digging in the dirt directly outside the gallery with a pair of scissors and teaching a visitor the basics of planting. Hint to those who pick up a bomb: the seeds are on top so pour the contents gently into the soil and not too deep. Also, make sure to come back and map the location on the map! Overall, the buzz and positive engagements compounded my faith in Green Bombs. Bushwick is an untapped resource for art, not to mention greening. Just down the street is an initative called "Trees not Trash." The mission statement of this group is to plant trees throughout industrialized east williamsburg to provide public green spaces. check out

finally...Please stop by and pick up a bomb!


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