Future Farmers: Taking Stock

nbsp; a href=http://www.gallery16.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/1004546_553320654761444_1914723477_n.jpgimg class=size-medium wp-image-66 alignleft alt=exhibition shot src=http://www.gallery16.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/1004546_553320654761444_1914723477_n-300x209.jpg width=300 height=209 //a Futurefarmers: Taking Stock

For our last show of 2013, Gallery 16 is proud to present an excavation of the artist duo Amy Franceschini and Michael Swaine a.k.a. a href=http://futurefarmers.com/ target=_blankstrongFuturefarmers/strong/a. Futurefarmers has been producing work and engaging with the public on projects since 1995. This year marks their 20th anniversary, so a href=http://gallery16.com/index.php?page=artistsamp;artist=af target=_blankemTaking Stock/em/a is a look back on some of the a href=http://futurefarmers.com/#projects target=_blank20+ projects/a they have produced since their beginning. Each project is in itself a deep and profound exercise in engagement with a diverse group of practitioners and various communities. With each project, we see broad discourse on ideas surrounding such issues as food policies, public transportation and rural farming networks, to name a few. While Futurefarmers aim to address political, social, economical and philosophical issues with their work, they also manage to package it all with a strong idiosyncratic style. For the show, Amy Franceschini and Michael Swaine worked to construct 12 platforms for the concrete objects which represented the ephemeral activities of each project presented.

a href=http://www.gallery16.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/victory_gardens_platform.jpgimg class= wp-image-64 alt=2007 src=http://www.gallery16.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/victory_gardens_platform-199x300.jpg width=179 height=270 //a Victory Gardens Platform

strongVICTORY GARDENS, 2007/strong

A multi-part, urban agriculture project developed with the City of San Francisco between 2007-2009. The program began as a utopian proposal in the context of a museum exhibition and has now become a city-supported network of urban farmers that (1) grow, distribute and support home gardens, (2) educate through free workshops, exhibitions and web sites and (3) plant demonstration gardens in highly visible public lands, i.e. garden at city hall.   -FF

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a href=http://www.gallery16.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/lunchbox_lab.jpgimg class=size-medium wp-image-57 alt=2008 src=http://www.gallery16.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/lunchbox_lab-300x206.jpg width=300 height=206 //a Lunchbox Laboratory Platform

strongLUNCHBOX LABORATORY, 2008/strong

Lunchbox Laboratory is a collaboration between Futurefarmers + the Biological Sciences Team at the National Renewable Energy Lab. Currently scientists are using algae to produce hydrogen and have discovered that it is a viable renewable energy form, in thatalgae is everywhere and it could also be used to produce biodeisel. One of the main hurdles for the research is to find the most productive strains of algae. Since there are potentially millions of strains, this task is monumental. Lunchbox Laboratory is a prototype for a potentially distributed research tool that would be sent to schools such that young scientists could do primary screening of a collection of algae strains. This would serve as a preliminary screening such that non productive strains would be ruled out and only productive strains would reach labs. This project enables students to participate in big science as well as network with other students nationwide to compare notes.   -FF

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a href=http://www.gallery16.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Shoemakers-Dialogue-Soul-Sermons-Platform-.jpgimg class=size-medium wp-image-60 alt=2011 src=http://www.gallery16.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Shoemakers-Dialogue-Soul-Sermons-Platform--199x300.jpg width=199 height=300 //a Shoemaker's Dialogue, Soul Sermons Platform

strongSHOEMAKER'S DIALOGUES, 2011/strong

Extending the architecture and function of the existing seating within the Frank Lloyd Wright- designed museum, a Cobbler's Bench and Shoemaker's Atelier was created to form the nucleus of a series of events questioning the relation ship between the sole and the soul. The atelier is an open interpretation of Simon the Shoemaker's Fifth-century Athens Studio in which Socrates alleg- edly had extensive philosophical discussions with Simon and local youth. The Pedestrian Press is a set of shoes that make up an entire character set. Each shoe has a letter on the toe and a stamp pad embedded in the heel. A roll of paper is rolled out onto the streets of the city and a parade of 22 people wearing the shoes is choreographed by a series of texts read aloud. A special ink made from particulate matter, soot is used to print the letters. For the occasion of the Intervals exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Pedestrian Press made three outings to the New Museum Festival of Ideas, Soul Kitchen in Harlem and a wander around the perimeter of the Guggenheim Museum.   -FF

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a href=http://www.gallery16.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/soil_kitchen-platform.jpgimg class=size-medium wp-image-62 alt=Soil Kitchen Platform src=http://www.gallery16.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/soil_kitchen-platform-192x300.jpg width=192 height=300 //a Soil Kitchen Platform

strongSOIL KITCHEN, 2011/strong

Soil Kitchen is a temporary, windmill-powered architectural intervention and multi-use space where citizens enjoy free soup in exchange for soil samples from their neighborhood. Placed across the street from the Don Quixote monument at 2nd Street and Girard Avenue in North Philadelphia, Soil Kitchen inhabits an abandoned building and places a windmill atop to pay homage to the popular windmill scene in Cervantes', Don Quixote. Rather than being adversarial giants as they were in the novel, the windmill at Soil Kitchen is a functioning symbol of self-reliance and literally breathing new life into a formerly abandoned building. The windmill also serves as a sculptural invitation to imagine a potential green energy future and to participate in the material exchange of soil for soup - literally taking matters into one's own hands. This exchange provides an entry point for further dialogue and action available in the space through workshops, events and informal exchange. Soil Kitchen provides sustenance, re-established value of natural resources through a trade economy, and tools to inform and respond to possible contaminants in the soil.

Soil Kitchen was commissioned by Philadelphia's Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy using a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation. Soil Kitchen coincided with the 2011 Environmental Protection Agency's National Brownfields Conference. Soil Kitchen offered free pH and heavy metal testing and produced a Philadelphia Brownfields Map and Soil Archive. In addition to serving soup and testing soil, the building is a hub for exchange and learning; free workshops including wind turbine construction, urban agriculture, soil remediation, composting, lectures by soil scientists and cooking lessons.   -FF

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