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Of Animacy Reading Group × Perennial Institute: Weed Course
Institute of Contemporary Arts

Here are some beginning points of clarification: a rose is not a weed; gratitude is not a weed, a wheel is not a weed; my sister is currently a weed; encouragement is and is sometimes not a weed; a subordinate is a weed; an anchor is not a weed; an opportunity is and is sometimes not a weed; beauty is not a weed; a de rigueur arrangement or setting is a weed; a rule is a weed; and so on. You will soon become an expert at knowing the difference.
– Amanda Ackerman

Of Animacy Reading Group unites with the Perennial Institute to host a clipping exchange and a discussion on a chapter of writer and poet Amanda Ackerman’s The Book of Feral Flora.

In the book’s chapter ‘Weed Course: Clearing and Preparing the Landscape’, Ackerman explores gardening as a contextual tool to ask what it means to be a weed, what makes us battle over territory, and to question the impact of cultivation. Ackerman also confronts the reader with a series of playful yet philosophical survey questions, which will be used to guide the reading group discussion.

The reading group will begin in the ICA Studio for the clipping exchange and, if it’s warm and the sun is shining, will then move outdoors into the green. Everyone attending is encouraged to bring a plant clipping – though spare clippings will also be provided – and something comfortable to sit on outside.

Under discussion:

Amanda Ackerman, ‘Weed Course: Clearing and Preparing the Landscape’, The Book of Feral Flora (Les Figues Press, 2015)

Further reading:

Roberto Burle Marx, ‘The Garden as a Form of Art’ (1962), Roberto Burle Marx Lectures: Landscape as Art and Urbanism, ed. Gareth Doherty (Lars Müller Publishers, 2018)

Lucius Burckhardt, ‘A Critique of the Art of Gardening’ (1983), Lucius Burckhardt Writings: Rethinking Man-made Environments: Politics, Landscape & Design (Springer Vienna Architecture, 2012)

For access to the text and further information on the reading group, please email
Led by curator Nella Aarne, this monthly reading group thinks through feminist engagements with human and non-human agents in the material world, spanning philosophy and science. The texts and discussions meander through a multiplicity of concepts and ways of thinking, developing into a vibrant web of ideas – the shape and character of which will organically unfold over time.

Of Animacy fosters learning through open discussion in a democratic space, with an aim to recognise vital alliances for our daily life and political thought. Reading the selected text in advance is recommended but not necessary. Printed copies will be available at the gathering and excerpts of the text will be read together to support open discussion. Of Animacy meets every month at the ICA and is always open to all.

Initiated by artist and researcher Jai McKenzie, The Perennial Institute is an experimental education project that involves a multidisciplinary group of artists, designers, biologists, gardeners, herbalists and more in a variety of global research activities. Exploring creativity through the lens of plants, the Institute approaches plants as our overlooked teachers with whom new forms of knowledge can emerge. The project explores this emerging and at times, ambiguous knowledge through embodied, feminine and intuitive approaches, cultivating alternative ground for creative practitioners to unlearn, re-root, imagine and thrive.
06:30 pm
Tue, 25 Jun 2019

Free, booking required.

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