Two years ago, China Residencies starting planning for our first invitational program to bring three exceptional environmentally-focused artists to Lijiang Studio. Curator Petra Johnson, He Jixing, and Kira Simon-Kennedy started thinking about all the ways the watershed shapes Lashihai, gathering stories from grandfather He about how he and other young men were sent to build a reservoir four hours' walk away. After the reservoir was completed, water would be released four times a year to fill the ditches that run alongside the fields. People gave up their freshwater ponds and fetched water from ditches. With the introduction of chemical fertilizers, the water was no longer fit for human consumption and people dug wells again. Nowadays the water is used for irrigating the orchards and maize fields. The reservoir only sends water down once a year, toward the end of March. Lao He waits for the water, sitting by the broadest ditch on the Eastern edge just behind the farm that leads straight to the lake.
In February 2019 Petra, Jixing, Jiwu (both grandsons of Lao He), and Boochay Drum walked the same path from the village to the reservoir.
sketch of the watershed in Lashihai, Yunnan
We invited longtime friends of China Residencies & artists Johann Diedrick, Laura Kung and Candace Thompson of The C.U.R.B to come spend time in Lashihai in the spring of 2020, but the pandemic would have it otherwise. At the same time, the pandemic also uprooted Shahong Lee from Beirut in Lebanon to the Adidondack Mountains in northern New York State. Shahong & Kira both found themselves considering the watershed of this part of the world, equally shaped by human interventions past and present.
With support of the Essex County Arts Council, we’re beginning here, with a series of three workshops that were originally intended to take place in Yunnan, in partnership with local nonprofits and businesses, to learn from, listen to, and make with landscape shaped by this watershed and our collective presences here.
Saturday, September 4 at 11AM
ClimateCrisis BioBrewing with Candace Thompson of The C.U.R.B.
Hub on the Hill, 545 Middle Rd, Essex, NY 12936, USA
Get started brewing wild herbal ales, from foraging ingredients to priming and bottling. Guests can sample alcoholic and non-alcoholic fermentations made from the abundant flora and fungi from New York State, all while discussing humanity's complex relationships with water contamination, intoxication, and remediation.
The Collaborative Urban Resilience Banquet (The C.U.R.B.) is adapting to climate crisis by meeting (and eating) our non-human neighbors; a multi-species experiment.
Candace Thompson (all pronouns accepted) is a human being who collaborates with soil, plants, microbes, fungi, animals, food, land, digital media and other human beings in the search for healing, resilience and mutualism as we face the climate crisis. Their project, The Collaborative Urban Resilience Banquet (C.U.R.B.) uses citizen science, non-human storytelling and foraged community meals to unpack the complexities of edible urban ecosystems and imagine a future where the streets are 'clean enough to eat off of'. They are also the Manager of Solar 1's Stuyvesant Cove Park, a two-acre native food forest in lower Manhattan where the public is encouraged to forage from clean land atop a former industrial site.
The Hub's mission is to support and strengthen our local food system. At the Hub on the Hill, we work to strengthen local supply chains, expand access to nutritious, local food and create regenerative systems in order to support the land and people that help sustain us all.
Candace serving mugwort beer, photograph by Natalie Conn
Sunday, September 5 at 2 pm
Natural Dyeing from Foraged Plants with Laura Kung
North Country Creamery, 931 Mace Chasm Rd, Keeseville, NY 12944, USA
Laura Kung is a multidisciplinary artist and designer who uses textile making as an introspective tool. She explores ideas of identity and belonging and her methods draw from a place of contemplation, using slow conscious processes such as natural dyeing, tapestry weaving, floor loom weaving and patchworking to unveil complex perspectives as a first generation Chinese-Taiwanese American. Color, texture & light are used as mediums to create perceptual landscapes.
North Country Creamery is a 100% grass-fed, Non-GMO, & Animal Welfare Approved dairy in Keeseville, NY. We produce and sell an array of farmstead cheeses, cream-line yogurts, & raw milk! All of our products are made exclusively with fresh milk from our Milking Shorthorn and Jersey cows, and other ingredients are limited to cultures, local herbs, maple syrup & organic extracts.
- Cut & Reassembled, Softly...Brightly by Laura Kung
- Fabric cuttings and scraps were salvaged, collected, and rejuvenated through natural dyeing processes--using madder, logwood, cutch, marigold, cochineal and food waste such as avocado pits and yellow onion skins
Monday, September 6, 2 pm
Listening to the Adirondacks with Johann Diedrick
Lee Park, Lee Park Hill, Westport, NY 12993, USA
Over the course of 45 minutes, we will listen to the present, past, and future of the Adirondacks, peeling back sonic layers to reveal the history of this landscape and speculate on its future.
Johann Diedrick is an artist, engineer, and musician that makes installations, performances, and sculptures for encountering the world through our ears. He surfaces vibratory histories of past interactions inscribed in material and embedded in space, peeling back sonic layers to reveal hidden memories and untold stories. He shares his tools and techniques through listening tours, workshops, and open-source hardware/software.
Champlain Area Trails (CATS) creates and maintains hiking and cross-country ski trails in New York’s Champlain Valley that link communities, connect people with nature, and promote economic vitality. Lee Park Trail (L1 on map) is an easy ¾ mi loop trail. We'll meet at thet railhead in Westport at Lee Park, at the bottom of Washington St. From the playground, we'll follow Hoisington Brook upstream to a footbridge over little waterfall, go through the tunnel under Main St, continue upstream, cross a bridge for a pleasant walk through forest along stream.