In a time when socializing with other humans has become limited, this art project proposes an interaction with beings from other species; more specifically, weeds. These mostly invisible and many times unwanted plants are all around us, insisting on being present and complexifying our ecosystems to interact with insects, bees, fungi, bacteria and nurture the soil, making sure that no sense of homogeneity goes by unattacked. Cities are awfully centered around us, built by and for humans, or some humans. A few domesticated species are allowed, as long as they are obedient and serve the purposes we attribute to them. But weeds are disobedient and experts in finding cracks in our flat surfaces, constantly ruining our dreams of complete control. They will grow on home gardens, sidewalks, even roads. They remind us that human will is not decisive and that nature sieves through. Is that a form of hope? No matter how strongly we invest in a monocultural way of living, weeds will show up as noise for some, but as melody for others. Artist Jorgge Menna Barreto, in collaboration with art students from LJMU, will engage on a two-week journey throughout Liverpool to detect the presence of these uncultivated plants, searching for ways to relate to them and using drawing to leave the traces on paper of these multispecies encounters. These drawings work as witnesses of those dialogues and will then come together at one of the exhibition spaces of BlueCoat during the Liverpool Biennial in 2021, forming a community of resistance that pays homage to the world of spontaneous plants. Their life lines will be entangled. Their relational force multiplied. As each of these plants is considered part of a secret text we are trying to decipher through close observation, weaving them together will create yet another text that becomes space, wall, redrawn on a mural to dehumanize our overtly human architecture.

Weed them in!

Click to see LJMU students drawings

Click to see the presentation about the project

Reference Text: An Introduction to Thinking Like a Forest

Connecting Art, Food and Nature: Article in Liverpool Biennial Blog

Recorded presentation of Mauvais Alphabet Project at LJMU

To follow the process:

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Images from Liverpool Biennial & artist Anna Houghton