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Dave Mays

TRANSFORMER PRESENTS: The Environmental Performance Agency (EPA): Department of Weedy Affairs

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Tune in for a conversation between Victoria Reis is the Co-Founder, Executive & Artistic Director of Transformer & the Environmental Performance Agency (EPA).

Transformer is proud to present The Department of Weedy Affairs, an exhibition, and series of programmatic performances and workshops led by the Environmental Performance Agency (EPA), an artist collective which imagines a governmental agency that is beyond human. Offering visitors an opportunity to engage with and learn from spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds) through a toolkit of radical care practices and embodied science.

The exhibition includes a living participatory sculpture featuring a weedy island of refugee plants from the marginal ecologies (ex. vacant lots, sidewalk cracks, highway medians) of Washington DC. An accompanying installation features liberated soil from the National Mall, deleted data from the US EPA’s website, tools and prompts that invite the visitor to experiment with and contemplate other ways of engaging with an urban multi-species environment. A recording booth and web platform encourage visitors to share their voice, and to speculate, imagine and contribute their ideas for a beyond human stewardship and weedy solidarity.

Since the appointment of Scott Pruitt in 2017, the US Environmental Protection Agency has removed nearly all mention of climate change from its website and strategic plan, has censored its own scientists, and has overturned 33+ rules and rolled back dozens of initiatives that protect human and more-than-human health. With an aim to foster public commentary that articulates a vision for environmental justice on behalf of all life, challenging the current administration’s self-serving disregard for climate and the environment, the EPA invites you to call or text the Environmental Performance Agency’s hotline (240) 808-2372 or submit online at www.OnBehalfOf.Life, and leave a message for Scott Pruitt and US EPA officials on behalf of a life form who can’t.

Throughout the exhibition, the EPA: Department of Weedy Affairs invites the public to consider multi-species empathy, the ecological interdependence of all life, and to imagine a governmental agency that advocates for ecological justice in a multispecies entangled world. At the close of the exhibition, the EPA Agents will lead a public march to deliver the collection of comments, desires, and demands on behalf of the weeds to the US EPA on the National Mall – The EPA meets the EPA.

The Environmental Performance Agency (EPA) is an artist collective founded in 2017 and named in response to the proposed defunding of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Appropriating the US EPA’s acronym, The EPA’s primary goal is to shift thinking around the terms environment, performance, and agency – using artistic, social, and embodied / kinesthetic practices to advocate for the agency of all living performers co-creating our environment, specifically through the lens of spontaneous urban plants, native or migrant. Since launching in March 2017, the EPA has developed a range of workshops and artworks exploring interspecies social engagement and human-nonhuman solidarity. This includes activities such as fostering wild plant literacy, developing scores for movement and awareness explorations, DIY bioremediation, public (performative/kinesthetic) fieldwork, and interspecies storytelling for a world beyond human. Current EPA Agents include Catherine Grau, andrea haenggi, Ellie Irons, and Christopher Kennedy.


by jinslee May 12, 2018