Environmentally focused Multi-media Artist – Amy Franceschini

Environmentally focused multi-media artist
Amy Franceschini

Lecture/Reception – “Futurefarmers: A Collective Practice”
Monday, June 18
6pm @ Tipton Hall/SFAI
$10 general/$5 students/seniors

Monday, June 18 – Friday, July 27
9am – 5pm M-F @ SFAI
FREE (closed weekends and holidays)

“Ethnobotanical Excursion with Futurefarmers and John Duncan” 
Sunday, June 24
$100 (generous scholarships available)

The Santa Fe Art Institute is proud to welcome – as part of our 2012 season of public programming, Half-Life – artist, educator, and award-winning web designer, Amy Franceschini to offer a workshop, exhibition, and lecture. The lecture, “Futurefarmers: A Collective Practice,” will present a lineage of work woven together by the common thread of food politics, organizing and poetics. Guests should bring a plant if they have one. They will be able to bring it home after the lecture.

Amy Franceschini
Amy Franceschini applies her multimedia talents to the multidisciplinary effects of globalization and its many environmental consequences. Her approach often combines strong graphics, interactive physical and website environments, with a commitment to “long-term engagements with the public.” In 1995, she founded the artists collective Futurefarmers, and co-founded Free Soil, another collaborative project in 2004. Franceschini’s solo and collaborative works have been included in the Whitney Museum, NY, the New York Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. She is currently a visiting artist at California College of the Arts and Stanford University. She received her BFA from San Francisco State University and her MFA from Stanford University. She is the recipient of the Artadia, Cultural Innovation, Eureka Fellowship, Creative Capital, Guggenheim Fellowship and SFMOMA SECA Awards.

Futurefarmers is a group of artists and designers who have been working together since 1995. They are artists, researchers, designers, farmers, scientists, engineers, illustrators, people who know how to sew, cooks and bus drivers with a common interest in creating work that challenges current social, political and economic systems. Their design studio serves as a platform to support art projects, an artist in residency program and their research interests.

About the workshop, “Ethnobotanical Excursion with Futurefarmers and John Duncan” 
In preparation for Futurefarmers project, Ethnobotanical Station at the New York Hall of Science this year Amy Franceschini and Myriel Milicevic invite you along a research trip with John Duncan. This day long journey will take us out into the field to learn about the local flora and the history of human interaction with plants in this region.

Ethnobotanical Station: NYSCII Oct. 15-Dec. 2012
Historian Jacques Barzun termed science “a faith as fanatical as any in history” and warned against the use of scientific thought to suppress considerations of meaning as integral to human existence. Many recent thinkers considered that the 17th century scientific revolution shifted science from a focus on understanding nature, or wisdom, to a focus on manipulating nature, i.e. power, and that science’s emphasis on manipulating nature leads it inevitably to manipulate people, as well. Science’s focus on quantitative measures has led to critiques that it is unable to recognize important qualitative aspects of the world.

In the current pharmaceutically-driven culture of popping little glossy pink, green and bright blue pills for allergies, anxiety and 4,000 other legitimate variations, one forgets the lineage of human relations and knowledge of plants from whence many of these new drugs emerge.  The knowledge and lore associated with medicinal uses of plants has the potential to tell more about a place than a cure for an ailment.

What can we learn from plants? Since the dawn of time humans have had complex relationships with plants and have used them for food, clothing, currency, ritual, medicine, dye, construction and cosmetics. Ethnobotanical Station is an installation and participatory research project that draws upon a rich and culturally diverse lineage of knowledge to study these complex relations. As humans transition from a rural to urban existence, much of the indigenous plant knowledge is lost and our relation to the plant origins of the many things we consume becomes more and more abstract. Ethnobotanical Station is and experimental framework used to preserve and extend this knowledge through an inventory of distinctive tools, exemplary specimen and mappings that explore new ways to relate to the plant life around us.  A combination of mythology, science fiction and qualitative methods of scientific research is used to regenerate traditional knowledge through hands-on workshops and visual display.

About Workshop Co-Presenter, Myriel Milicevic
Myriel Milicevic is an artist, researcher and interaction designer based in Berlin. With her Neighbourhood Satellites she explores the hidden connections between people and their natural, social, and technical environments. These explorations are mostly of a participatory nature, emerging from collaborations with other artists and scientists, in the context of workshops, classrooms, exhibitions, residencies and out in the field.

About Workshop Co-Presenter, John Duncan
John Duncan is a teacher of wild foods and traditional uses of wild medicinal plants in Northern New Mexico. He has been studying the use of wild plants as a resident of Taos County for over 35 years and teaches “Wild Food And Wild Medicine” at the University of New Mexico-Taos, as well as hosting a wild food and medicinal plant festival each summer in the Taos area, (osonegroschool.com). It is his belief that the local native plants of an area are what the area residents require and need not look beyond their surroundings for medicine and food.

About Half Life: Patterns of Change:
Cycles of Creation, Decay, and Renewal in Art and Life
When an object or system stops performing its assigned function in contemporary society, we tend to replace it rather than repair it. However, artists redefine useless as useful by creating a new life for objects, and that renewed life alters the role of these objects entirely. Artists work similar magic with degraded landscapes, blighted neighborhoods, and other systems—infusing them with new purpose and expanding the potential for positive change. Ideally, this change is accomplished with the participation of the surrounding communities—transforming not only objects and systems, but also the communities themselves.

About the SFAI:
Founded in 1985, the Santa Fe Art Institute’s mission is to promote art as a positive social force — both in our community and around the world — and to highlight art as a powerful tool for facilitating dialogue, bridging perspectives, and evoking visions of a better future.

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