Sunday 3 July, 11 a.m.—4 p.m. Uhr

Location: Gemeinschaftsgarten NeuLand Köln, Koblenzer Str. 73, 50968 Köln
Language: English, translation into German is possible
Registration until 07/01/2022 at (participation limited).

Workshop 1
Cooking for microbes: Changing the microbiome of extractive capitalism
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

What goes on in the microcosm of the soil seems to follow an archetypical plot. The soil is populated with a trillion tiny microorganisms, including soil bacteria, which can be roughly divided into three camps: The "good", the "bad" and the “opportunists”. Good bacteria develop symbiotic partnerships with plants (the mutualists) or break down pesticides and pollutants and are nutrient repositories (the decomposers). Bad bacteria can cause rot and disease (the pathogens). The rest of the bacteria choose the side that is more powerful at the moment.

As a result of chemical fertilizers and pesticides industrial agriculture under Capitalism has created the ideal conditions for the domination of pathogenic bacteria in agriculture soils, which require more sanitization with pesticides in a downwards spiral of treating one evil with another.

It’s a small step from the transformation of soil under capitalism, to thinking about ourselves and our microbiome which operates according to the same principles. What does regeneration means if we apply the principle of soil to ourselves? How can we regenerate the soil and equally create healthy environments for ourselves and our environment?

the workshop we will first examine and analyze different soil conditions. The next step is to learn how to use free available materials and improvised technologies to cook a nourishing meal for bacteria that regenerate the soil. Together we’ll build, brew and mix ingredients that create conditions for balanced and biodiverse soil ecosystems.

Collective picnic
1 – 2 p.m.

Workshop 2
Designing Ecosystems: Rewilding in a post-wild world
2 – 4 p.m.

The concept of Rewilding was introduced in the 1990s to promote the restoration of healthy and sustainable ecosystems while reducing the human interventions as much as possible. In times of environmental collapse and mass extinction this seems like an urgently needed measure against the damages of capitalism.

Nevertheless, on the background of extractive modernity and coloniality it requires a critical reflection if not to reproduce the eurocentric paradigm of the separation of nature and culture with its tendencies to romanticize and exoticize “wilderness”. Following the ideology of separation or even purity environmental protection even leads to the violent and expulsion of people, first and foremost indigenous inhabitants of territories to be restored to a “natural" state.

Therefore it is necessary to critically reflect on modernist and racist concepts of protection and reclaim them from the perspective of cohabitation and more-than-human kinship. Rewilding methods then promote responsibility and radical care for ecosystems under stress.

In NeuLand we will use rewilding techniques as a tool to bring back ecological biodiversity to the garden. The workshop will begin with an introduction to the different ecological phases of the garden as well as biodiversity. What are the parallels between intact ecosystems, societies and mental health? What does (bio)diversity have to do with it? After the introduction we will look at the difference between wild and domesticated plants and create biologically diverse beds at the edges of the garden site.

Yoeri Guépin (he/him) is a visual artist, researcher and gardener who works with communities, gardens and film. His experience of being brought up at a biodynamic farm, helping his parents in the fields since a young age led to an interest in (agri)cultural histories and their ecosystems. His projects often find their form as gardens that act as vessel and entrance to marginal (hi)stories and nonwestern epistemologies. Guépin holds MA from the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem. Currently working on projects at Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam, Stiftung Künstlerdorf Schöppingen and iii Workspace Den Haag. Guépin’s films have been exhibited at Tent Rotterdam (2019), Guangdong Times Museum Guangzhou (2021) and Kadist San Francisco (2022).

The workshop is part of the program „Instituting in Circles: Ecological approaches in art and art institutions” curated by Nada Rosa Schroer.

Seeds from Ms. Wong, Foto: Yoeri Guépin

Funding and support
Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen
Kulturamt der Stadt Köln
Deltax Wirtschafts- und Steuerberatungsgesellschaft mbH
Hotel Chelsea