C O N C E P T
„Acting local“ is an important building part of the restructuring and transformation of today’s society, which is built up extensively, towards a forward-looking system that is also designed for the generations after us. To reach this goal the artist Luca Kohlmetz created a art performance, which shapes a more ecological and edible city. This includes planting and structuring public spaces and gardens and creating community gardens.
It’s not about indiscriminate sowing of the plants, but on involving the residents of the city in order to make them understandable how the plants work and how they can be cultivated and used as a community. In order to stimulate an inner-city transformation it can’t be just set in front of the citizens, because successful implementation depends on people’s understanding of nature.
The performance is not only a gardening and landscaping project or a pure guerrilla gardening campaign. Rather, lost knowledge should be conveyed, which in turn should be passed on.
In 2021 countless new edible plants are planted in the city of Düsseldorf and the surrounding area. One sub-project is the redesign of the „Phloxgarten“ in the South-Park. From March onwards there are weekly open meetings where people will plant, care and harvest together.
Every seed sown, every young plant planted and every new tree is recorded in writing.
An important point is the free access to vegetables and fruits in the public urban space. For this purpose the artist is planting edible plants himself on various surfaces in Düsseldorf. The main location will be the Southpark. Together with the residents, a new community garden is created, which is jointly designed on fixed dates.
In addition the artist supports citizens‘ initiatives and associations that have already begun to green the city out of their own interest or to campaign for free seeds, such as Pro Düsseldorf, Platzgrün, Ökotop Heerdt, Saatgut-Initiative Düsseldorf.
Art is created in the moment of encounter when seeds are planted together. Citizens are also brought closer to the idea of self-sufficiency. In the sense of commoning, according to Silvia Federici, a long-term supply should be created that is largely free of industrialization.
The citizens must be integrated into the project, so the city can benefit from Common Seeds in the long term.
A collective understanding of the need for social transformation can only happen with the involvement of people. A desired change will only succeed if approaches are worked out together with the women, men and children of the city and if people think about self-sufficiency together and collectively form a new understanding of nutrition and work.
Reforms and advice that are decided without those who are affected do not result in transformation. At best they cause obedience and at worst disaffection.
The goal of the whole undertaking is a long-term change. The performance is not an egocentric act by the artist that ends after a certain time and leaves the community unchanged. Actually it’s not a one-year performance either. The performance shouldn’t end at all. The one year – the first year – should only be an initial spark.
The continuation does not have to follow the same rules of the original performance but can be fluid and lively. The people who will be part of the performance over of the year can decide according to their interests how the social transformation will be continued.
Seeds are grown and manipulated in standard industrial practice so that many plants that are not organic or seed-proof are not suitable for propagation. This means: If you buy or grow such a plant, you cannot get any other plants with the same qualities from the seeds that this plant produces for natural reproduction. We are thus forced to buy new seeds or vegetables every year – although the cycle of food and life is naturally freely available for us.
Seeds are common property – and are one of the main reasons for the prestige of our species today.
Obtaining one’s own seeds is an existential component of human self-sufficiency. If you show the citizens how to obtain your own seeds and grow your own vegetables from them for your own supply, you will learn how to lay the foundation for a certain level of self-sufficiency. This self-sufficiency does not apply to society as a whole. Of course people shouldn’t develop into solitary loners. It should be a social transformation instead. Food can be grown and processed together in the family or in the neighborhood. Self-sufficiency refers to the whole society, which can be largely self-sufficient and independent. Self-sufficient from industrial processes and highly processed foods, self-sufficient from product ranges that are harmful to health and are only intended to generate profit for a few – and self-sufficient from the work that we do not like to do, but burden ourselves with long outdated streams of thought.
The Common Seeds Performances is a „social sculpture“. By involving the citizens the work not only exists in society but instead develops in it, making the work of art an endless, living and dynamic process.