Gardens in the City / Houses on the Land

Context – Enquiry – Project

The context of my project is the rise of urban agriculture, specifically in Detroit (MI) in contrast to the spread of residential urban sprawl in farming communities and rural parts of Michigan.

My enquiry is into how people respond to these changes in the landscape and what effects it has on their lives and livelihoods. I will be asking the question, how has this place changed? as a starting point for this exploration. My project’s focus will be on gathering and making material by interviewing and walking with individuals in locations that serve as their workplaces or hold significance for them.

I would like to return to my home country as a way of both enquiring personally into how the place has changed since I have been away and how this relates to current wider societal and environmental issues in Michigan. I would like to apply some of the devising and performance strategies I have learned, specifically in site-based walking performance practices, to my familiar home-country context.  Practically, I would like to make connections with artists and practitioners in Michigan who are engaged with contemporary issues and arts practices for future reference and networking opportunities.  This is a difficult yet exciting time for Michigan and I would like to engage with it as a native through an artistic practice. I will be exploring the difference between agriculture in the inner city and the building of suburbs in the agricultural countryside.

Gardens in the City

The metro Detroit area is a post industrial city going through severe economic and social changes that affect its population and land use.

The agricultural work that is taking place in the city is multi-dimensional. It creates positive social interaction, sustainable growth and nutritional value for deprived communities of the inner city.

I would like to investigate the impact on the community at the individual level by interviewing people who are directly involved or who benefit from these activities. I wish to approach the work not as a journalistic reporter but as a chronicler of human experience at the various sites.

Houses on the Land

Over the past several decades the agricultural community in Michigan has been under siege from suburban developers. I would like to do field research in new housing development, accessing the impact it has on the land, the displacement of former owners, and the current life of the new ersatz “community.” I am interested in the impact these closed in and often isolated communities have on the surrounding farmland, and the Mythogeographical layers that can act as performance material.

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