City as Weeds

We normally think of weeds as enemies. In this exhibition, we suggest that weeds are healers of the land, of people, and of cities.

We are one of five artist teams tasked with transforming empty shops on the Tenri shopping street in Nara, Japan. Here, the weeds are seen as a sign of decay and neglect. Our City as Weeds exhibition–situated in an old shoe store and home–suggests otherwise.

A work commissioned by the HANARART Nara Eco Arts Festival, this exhibition celebrates weeds, suggesting the ways in which these plants that grow through the cracks of our sidewalks, are actually healers of the land, of people, and of cities.

In three multi-sensory sections, we engage in relationships with four common urban weeds (Dandaelion, Mugwort, Clover, and Broadleaf Plantain), finding out how they can make our urban lives more delicious, healthy, sustainable, and happy. Within the exhibition, visitors can experience herbal weed teas, artworks made from weeds, and a new film, Weeds Are Our Friends, featuring interviews with Nara-ken based natural farmer Yoshikazu Kawaguchi.

Discover the three sections below.

店舗 [WORKSHOP]

Explore artifacts from the process of researching and producing the weed artworks and weed tea, while drinking a sample of this medicinal weed tea blend “The Wisdom of Weeds.” The tea is bended by Kang–a certified herbalist–using Dandaelion, Mugwort, Clover, and Broadleaf Plantain. The display also includes notes about the history and aspects of each of the weeds, and images of the artist’s “Branch Pocket Farm” in Osaka, where weeds are welcomed.

A series of pattern works on fabric by Lydon, produced with hand-carved wood blocks and natural pigment including weeds. Each work offers a celebration and meditation of the human relationship with one of four urban weeds (Dandaelion, Mugwort, Clover, and Broadleaf Plantain). Below each artwork is a glass vile containing dried sample of the weed, and a fabric dyed using weed pigment.

和室 [ FILM SCREENING]

Weeds Are Our Friends is a short film by City as Nature, exploring our relationship with weeds. It is built around interviews with the farmer Yoshikazu Kawaguchi, of Nara Prefecture, who talks about the reality of weeds.

Exhibition Details

11–28 February 2022
Hanarart Festival: Sowing seeds is the beginning of everything
Core Area (Tenri Shotengai)
Nara, Japa

Exhibition Tour

Experience the VR tour produced by Hanarart

Support

The project was commissioned by Nara Machiya Arts Festival HANARART Executive Committee, Nara Prefecture. Curated by Chie Uchida.
主催:奈良・町家の芸術祭 HANARART 実行委員会、奈良県・キュレーター 内田千恵

Further Explorations

City as Weeds

We normally think of weeds as enemies. In this exhibition, we suggest that weeds are healers of the land, of …