You gave a talk last week, a the Wildlife in The City forum, part of the Clubhouse at Performance Space and organized by Joni Taylor.
For the occasion you presented a mini photo/environmental survey of the area surrounding Carriageworks.
You thought it would have been nice while talking about the state of the wildlife in urban settings, to actually have a look at the botany present on site.
Of course the species were mostly weeds, Carriageworks is a newish ‘artistic quarters’ inhabiting what were the railways building yards, in Redfern, inner suburb of Sydney.
Railways are renowned to be some of the most important spreading routes for most of introduced vegetation in Australia. The long lines of transportation didn’t just link remote areas with the coast, they also acted as corridors for plants.
Together with you there were other concerned researchers, like a very interesting zoological expert, who spoke about a topical issue at the moment in inner Sydney, Flying foxes, the fruit-eating gigantic bats who famously inhabit the local Botanic gardens. The mammals are accused of killing a growing number of very old and rare trees in the gardens, prompting the management to seek a special ruling from the state government to shush them away from their preferred roosting site, see here for the controversy.
Also at the panel were present Makeshift, the duo with which you collaborated for the Hanging Gardens and Other Tales project, a year and a half ago, an expert on urban botany from the University of NSW, Brendan Penzer, a fellow artist and curator, and a representative from WIRES, the local not-for-profit organization that provides rescue for injured wildlife in Australia.
The aim of the day was to put together at the table a 50/50 discourse between art and science, as Joni wrote:
Wildlife in the City is part of the Urban Transformations series that will take place at the ClubHouse.
The event will bring scientists, botanists and zoologists together with artists who take an ecological approach to their practice.In the city, where urbanism and nature collide, flora and fauna have adapted to the developments around them. It will offer a unique glimpse into how the urban landscape acts as a backdrop to human/nature interaction, and how this is changing.
It is hoped that the meeting will inspire new works to take place in the public and urban arena.
This is a noble task, searching for new avenues and directions for both science and art in Australia, when it comes to assessing the reality of environmental complexity that inhabit our cities, but it would be a shot at the sky, if it wasn’t that Joni intends to use it as a starting point.
Now, you readers thought you were wild arguing for a re-interpretation of the cultural value of aggressive non-native species,
BD Collier work takes it to next level, while you progressively try to back-up yourself with scientific data, shouldering your arguments with research done in the fields of biology, anthropology, social science, ethnobotany and so forth, Brian D Collier unashamedly keeps it kooky and art-real!
In projects like Teach The Starlings he seek collaborators to effectively piggy-back some peculiarity of an introduced species to USA, the ability to mimic sounds and to pass it on to the rest of the population, to set-up a viral intervention, which, in theory, would spread the whole span of habitat for the little birds..GENIUS!!
You love this project no end, together with great admiration for other adventures, like the Re-Natural Habitat Acquisition Program, which consist of an attempt at re-wilding areas, taking advantage of the pockets of lands which fall through the real-estate loop-holes.
Brian D Collier is, to your opinion, an artist to admire, strong, daring, inventive and immensely mischievous. An achiever.
You going to contact him forthwith!