Soil Memory residency

Open Jar Collective spent two weeks in Madrid this summer investigating the soil ecosystems around the river in collaboration with INLAND and Huerta Matadero.  We hosted walks, talks, printing, paper-making, book binding activities and conversations.

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The residency was structured in four parts

1.COLLECTING / RECORDING / GATHERING

Local residents, students, ecologists, botanists, landscape architects, gardeners and wildlife enthusiasts joined us for a walk to study the river ecology. The walk created a space for learning and sharing memories, and we gathered a collection of plant specimens, soil samples and words.

Walk&Workshops59Walk&Workshops67Walk&Workshops37Walk&Workshops102. PROCESSING / TRACING / ANALYZING

Participants were invited to work with plant specimens and soil samples collected along El Rio Manzanares to create a series of prints and hand-made papers.

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3. MAKING / BINDING / TRANSFORMING

Participants were invited to make a set of handmade books which act as an archive of the flora and fauna of the river and people’s relationship to it, at this moment in time.

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4. SHARING / BUILDING / ACTING

Our final event gathered people together for a meal at Huerta Matadero (the site of a future community garden) to see samples of the work created, share research findings, and explore actions that can be taken for the future of the soil and river ecosystem in Madrid. We posed three questions:

  • What memories does the soil hold?
  • What are your dreams for the soil of Madrid?
  • What actions can be taken to protect our soils?

We’ll be talking about our work during the Soil Memory residency at the CCA on Wednesday 16th August, 6pm.  We are also working on a zine which will be published in September.

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Tides and Tributaries – Sunday 30th July

Join us for a walk and talk on Sunday 30th July as part of Scottish Sculpture Workshop Frontiers In Retreat programme at the CCA Glasgow.

Bringing together different strands from recent projects and collaborations Alex and Hannah from Open Jar Collective will be joined by artist Fernando Garcia-Dory for a walk and talk shaped by the flowing of water through the city. Along the walk we will share our methods and approaches to facilitating exchange in the projects INLAND and Soil City. Conversation will be stimulated and diverted by reflections on places and people visited along the route. The walk will take in a number of sites that provoke thinking about borders, edges, commons and knowledge exchange.

Meeting at the CCA at 11am we will begin with a short introduction to Soil City and INLAND before we get the subway under the Clyde to visit sites in Govan including the Galgael project.
For more information and to book your place in this workshop: here

Read more about interweaving strands of our work with Fernando on the SSW blog

Show Us Your Tools

At the beginning of May, Open Jar Collective were in residence at Scottish Sculpture Workshop, investigating the history and philosophy of land based tools.  Here are some of the questions we’ve been asking:

What brings a tool to life?

What is a dead (end) tool?

What are the tools of your trade?

What isn’t a tool?

Are tools inert and useless without human agency?

Do tools represent human ‘control’ over nature?

How do tools disrupt or enhance our ability to inhabit our environment?

We’ll be back at SSW in September to continue the research.

Declaration for Soils

A couple of weeks ago we hosted an afternoon and evening of food and discussion at Kinning Park Complex to explore how we value soil and what opportunities there are for collective action to protect it as a resource. The event was part of Soil City, a project by Open Jar Collective to reimagine the city as if soil matters, and was presented in association with Glasgow Local Food Network and the CCA’s Intentions in Actions programme.

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We started with a Soil Soup workshop.  People brought a selection of ingredients, soil samples, stories and words.  We wrote histories and imagined narratives from the perspective of our soil samples, followed by a shared a meal.

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In the evening we were joined by journalist Karin Goodwin, to explore what a declaration, manifesto, or statement about soil might involve.  We asked the questions: What do we know about soil?  What are our hopes and visions?  What actions can we take?

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In the group of people assembled – including scientists, artists, local growers – we found a strong interest and desire to continue this conversation about creating a Declaration for Soils.  In the New Year we hope to develop these ideas further and invite more people to join this conversation and work towards collective actions to protect our soils, while looking ahead to the World Congress of Soil Science which will be held in Glasgow in 2022.

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What do we know?

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What are our hopes and dreams?

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What are our next steps?

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Notes from the frontline

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Open Jar Collective was commissioned by The NewBridge Project to take part in Hidden Civil War in October. Hidden Civil War was a month long programme of activity in Newcastle upon Tyne which invited activists and artists to contribute to a series of events that exposed, collated and presented evidence of a Hidden Civil War in Britain today.

Open Jar Collective artists Alex, Beth and Clem began with a period of field research, carrying out interviews with people in Newcastle and the North East of England who are connected to food and farming.  Through this research we began to build a picture of the people active in the food system, including local organic growers, food policy organisations, academics, community activists, and food banks. People we spoke to expressed a need to have more opportunities to share knowledge with others working within the food system.

In response to this expressed need, we organised an event at Summerhill Bowing Club to enable connections to be made between people who are on the ‘front line’ of making food in Newcastle more accessible and sustainable. Our aim was to stimulate conversation, provoke new ideas and build the potential for collaboration by inviting people to share a meal prepared using locally sourced sustainable produce.

We invited people to describe their hopes and concerns, we explored the strengths, obstacles, unknowns and possibilities of the food system.  We finished the day by devising a series of questions to instigate a wider conversation with the public.

The next day we took over a shop unit in Grainger Market, creating a space for conversation about food and building social connections in the face of austerity.  We invited people to respond to the questions and generate their own.  We gifted bundles of fresh herbs to the people who shared their thoughts with us.

We are in the process of collating all the material gathered which will be shared with the participants in the form of a series of postcards.

 

Soil City Zine

We are really looking forward to launching our Soil City Zine next week at Not by the Book, 10 years of the Radical Independent Bookfair Project in the Intermedia Gallery in the CCA Glasgow.

The Soil City Lab will be popping up from 4 – 6pm with activities including soil printing and fermenting followed by the launch of the Soil City Zine 6 – 8pm, documenting our research and conversations so far. Thanks to all our contributors and Design by Zag for all the work that has gone into it.

Check out all the other fantastic events which are part of the programme.

 

Notes from the Front Line

Open Jar Collective are taking part in the Hidden Civil War programme in Newcastle this October with a project called Notes from the Front Line.

Hidden Civil War is a month long programme of activity in Newcastle upon Tyne, commissioned by The NewBridge Project. Throughout October 2016 we are inviting activists and artists to contribute to a series of events that expose, collate and present evidence of a Hidden Civil War in Britain today.’

Open jar Collective have been gathering evidence and inviting people in the Newcastle and the surrounding areas to consider points of fragility in the food system.  We are hosting conversations and will create a space for dialogue that will help to build points of connection in the face of austerity.

We are posing the question – who’s on the front line in the challenge to feed Newcastle sustainably?  The front line of food production and distribution is all around us in our everyday lives  – from farms to food banks, supermarkets to corner shops, cafes to canteens.

We’ll be popping up in Grainger Market on Saturday 15th October, 11am-3pm, to share the stories we have gathered from the front line and to welcome your own ideas

Open Jar Collective: Notes from the front line