End of the World Garden is a unique and ambitious artist-led project. A two-acre forest garden site in Cornwall, cultivated over the last twelve years by artist Paul Chaney (paulchaney.co.uk). The project opened in 2016 as a collaborative platform for artist residencies, durational trans-disciplinary research, and residential seminars exploring land use and post-capital futures. The site will host a diverse programme of public events, practical workshops in off-grid living, horticulture, ecology, and participatory art commissions.
Land use, food security, and the impact of shifting geopolitics and changing economic circumstances are pressing contemporary issues which challenge traditional relations between the rural and the urban. There is a developing focus away from urban centres onto the regions, driven by a growing awareness of sustainability issues, and the collapse of urban social structures under the strain of property speculation. The ‘countryside’ can no longer be seen as a retreat, utopia, or site of romantic contemplation; a rethinking of rural space will play a crucial role in conceiving a future beyond the current crises. EotWG provides a dynamic space in which to develop new thinking and practice, to open up dialogues between a local hub and wider international academic and art communities, and to reimagine the relation between local site and global discourse.
EotWG is situated five miles from Falmouth in Cornwall at a site that provided the setting from 2005–2010 for Chaney’s collaborative project Fieldclub. From 2015, initial groundwork for the EotWG project (concept development, programme planning, development of on-site infrastructure and facilities, dialogue with potential partners and collaborators) has been undertaken by a dynamic group of artists, curators, technologists, conservationists, and horticulturalists led by Chaney
The site is fully autonomous for energy and water. The existing gardens will provide raw materials for on-site catering, and biofuel planted twelve years ago is now mature enough to be harvested to provide site-grown fuel for cooking. A selection of agricultural buildings will house basic educational spaces and camping facilities, allowing visitors to engage in a year-round programme of activities.
Inclusivity, learning, and participation are important elements of the EotWG ethos. Far from simply providing another anonymous institutional space, EotWG will invite visitors and contributors to actively engage with the site, living off-grid during events, participating in seasonal activities under the guidance of experienced horticulturalists, and contributing to food preparation and outdoor cooking under the guidance of professional chefs. This hands-on approach will provide the experiential ground for ongoing trans-disciplinary explorations, a combination of discursive and practical engagement successfully piloted by Chaney’s summer 2016 Critical Camps programme at Kestle Barton Rural Centre for Contemporary Arts (kestlebarton.co.uk). Pilot activities took place at the EotWG site throughout 2016, including a ‘soundcamp’, open days, a volunteer week, and reading groups.
EotWG will host its first summer programme throughout July and August 2017 focusing on low-impact architectures, with an emphasis on developing and realizing built infrastructures required for future public interaction at the site. Emerging and established artists will be invited to develop new works and to conduct research in close collaboration with speculative designers and architects from London, Berlin, and Cornwall alongside the core team. Visitors will have opportunities to gain insight into the artists’ practices and to participate with artist-led activities through workshops, seminars, and opening events. More details to be released soon.
Throughout May, July, and August 2017, EotWG will offer mediated volunteer periods working on site infrastructure and horticulture, and practical courses delivered by local practitioners including: perennial horticulture, wild cooking, food preservation, low-impact building, hunting, small-scale off-grid energy systems, forest gardening, etc.
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