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The Means of Production Garden grows art materials for a collective of artists in Vancouver. It is a habitat – art as a growing environment that engages the senses within its collective life force.

The garden “engages the community in creating art and dialogue through a living and productive landscape. MOPARRC explores the use of natural materials to make art; harvesting crops, with a focus on interactive sculptures and instruments and gardening as an inclusive performative process. These activities create seasonal awareness, and forge intergenerational connections. The Means of Production Garden is an active studio, lab, social setting; with artists and public co-producing site specific artworks and events” (Sharon Kallis).

The garden is a public art installation, a site for gatherings, music, artists in residence and a place to learn about living art materials. Located within the grounds of a Vancouver park, the garden will be ten years old this year. The garden works in alliance with the Vancouver Parks Board, The Environmental Youth Alliance, The Community Arts Council of Vancouver, and Vancouver Arts and Culture.

The Means of Production Garden originally developed from the ideas of Oliver Kelhanmer, a Canadian land artist, writer and activist. He devised the garden as a biological intervention, which integrates art into the environmental consciousness of the local community. The garden is a living art form a social sculpting of the community landscape with socially engaging aesthetics.

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Sharon Kallis, an artist from the Means of Production collective, harvests materials for her work as ‘an urban weaver’. Often using invasive species of plants (i.e. ivy and blackberry), Sharon creates coiled baskets, weavings, and circular compositions with community members of all ages. Sharon “works seasonally with what the landscape produces and creates site-responsive installations, which integrate the growing art materials of the local landscape.” Sharon (pictured below) was a guide to how the garden can be a resource, not only for artists, but for anyone interested taking refuge within its ecological aesthetics.

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http://moparrc.com

http://sharonkallis.com

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The People’s Apothecary Garden located behind the Vancouver Island College of Art (in Victoria, British Columbia), is a curatorial project produced by the Green Tongues Collective. “The People’s Apothecary is a herb garden, a commons, a sculpture, a political statement, a model for creating self-reliant communities, an intervention into exploitative state systems, a relationship with ourselves, the earth and each other” ( Serina Zapf, “The People’s Apothecary: Situating the Garden).

The herb garden acts as a living art installation, and an engaging and changing environment for learning, health, discussion, and social action.

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Inspired by Oliver Kelhammer’s biological interventions, which act as both public art forms and acts of environmental activism, The People’s Apothecary is a sculpting of social space. Using organic gardening methods, the herb garden is a collective endeavour. Each participant contributes time, seeds, plants, mulching materials, and care. It is cultivated collectively and can be harvested by the community at any time. The garden is an example of community engaged artistic practice, that is regenerative and beyond the parameters of the gallery as an often clinical space.

The core principles of the Green Tongues Collective are:

1. To decentralise medicine, by making medicinal plants accessible to everyone.

2. To create spaces for the interconnection of wildlife, herbs, and humans.

3. To create empowering spaces where people can come together.

4. To make collective art (through gardening) as a way of encouraging critical thinking, collective action, participatory spaces, and as a means of escaping traditional divisions between artist/viewer.

5. To create spaces for conversation.

6. To empower participants to gain a deeper understanding and connection to their land and their health.

7. To create spaces that bring communities together in ways which weave together people, skills and land.

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“The People’s Apothecary is life as art and art as life”

http://greentonguesapothecary.wordpress.com

http://serinazapf.com