Connectivity of green and blue infrastructures: living veins for biodiverse and healthy cities

Art posters for you

We made posters to give away.

Part of learning how to redesign cities to include animals, plants, other species, and natural processes, is an exercise in imagination. We need to be able to think flexibly and differently to get the vehicle of civilisation out of the muddy rut we are currently spinning our wheels in.

Art is an important contributor to learning to think and do otherwise. So Bioveins has made a small series of posters of artworks that engage with some of the issues we discuss here.

Les Mésanges by Francois-Nicolas Martinet is an image from the Natural History of the Comte de Buffon. The Birds section was published between 1771-1786. "Mésanges" are in English the tits: the Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), the Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris) and the Great Tit (Parus major). Blue Tits and Great Tits can be seen in parks in cities--I have seen them in Paris sometimes, and I remember fondly seeing them every morning as I walked across the University Parks in Oxford. The Marsh Tit is a woodland bird. I chose this image not only for the species illustrated, but to point to natural history and knowledge formed from observation as one kind of relationship with nature that we can cultivate in and beyond cities. I also liked the way the branches look like connective corridors cutting across the image (which they are, of course, if you are a tit, a squirrel, an ant, a caterpillar, a lichen, etc.).

Documents and Evidence from the Known World # 357433 by Enrico Partengo is actually a collage of two images, if you look closely. It comes from a series of photographs and collected accreted rock-like objects found in abandoned lots and old polluted industrial sites around Torino, Italy: https://enricopartengo.jimdo.com/2016-documents-and-evidence-from-the-known-world/. I love the way Enrico engages with observation, care, attention, pattern and place in his work. In this work you can see how the chaotic pattern of the overgrown sites is characteristic and recognisable-- the two images look the same, they are the same kind of habitat--but their juxtaposition also makes the point that they are different places, they are not identical but rather unique. The small "line" joining them makes you ask, what is the space in between them, in what ways are they connected? How do you get from one place to the other? How do you distinguish one such place from another? What do you learn from the juxtaposition?

Untitled (Haus/Nest/Tail) by Pedro Wirz is a small sculpture that merges a fur tail, a wasps' nest and an earthen house/ body. Part of an exploration of organic forms and animal architectures (http://www.pedrowirz.com) I like how this sculpture looks both like a body and like a house, like a hybrid animal and a multispecies dwelling. Our own bodies are full of microbes; our own houses are full of spiders and silverfish; our own cities are full of foxes, crows and trees. It is a good form for thinking about the shapes, the processes, the connections and the articulations of living with other species. It also maybe raises questions about empathy and tolerance-- the hybrid animal looks curious, cute, and funny, even though small furry animals and wasps living in our houses are rarely welcome and usually exterminated. It suggests that there is a way of making homes in which we can live together, if we change how we see.

The posters are silk screen prints made at the silk screen workshop of Les Grands Voisins: https://www.grandemasse.org/?c=activites&p=atelier-serigraphie. They thus also embody the revalorisation of abandoned urban spaces.

I will be sending 15 copies of each poster to each city. There are a few extra. Do you want one? Let me know!

--Meredith Root-Bernstein 30 July 2019

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