SPURSE is a collective of ecosystem artists and designers that work with those who are meeting complex environmental and social challenges. SPURSE works with institutions, infrastructures, and regions to co-create ecosystems that produce adaptive solutions. The art SPURSE makes are things like public policy papers, oral history archives, environmentally engineered wetlands, free public restaurants, bacterial laboratories for art museums, nomadic clothing and housing systems, research institutes to study urbanism and smart phone applications. SPURSE begins each project by inclusively determining the leverage points within ongoing processes that can be leveraged to catalyze meaningful material and social transformations. To fully engage these questions SPURSE frequently employs the tools and techniques of disciplines outside art including ecological design, community organizing and systems engineering. SPURSE is guided by a strong interest in aesthetics, as both a means to re-sensitize people to the world they are of and as a technique of assembling new material and social configurations.
As one of four research teams invited in 2011 to design public programming for the BMW Guggenheim lab, SPURSE networked with urban ecologists, architects and environmental engineers to design over twenty different site-specific research tours for the public. These pedagogical interventions were collected in the form of a research atlas and purchased by the Guggenheim museum to become part of their permanent collection. SPURSE had developed an Iphone application, site-specific installation and public programming as part of the 2011 Contemporary Art Forum Kitchner and Area Biennial in Ontario Canada. As part of a traveling exhibition organized by Nato Thompson on the part of the Independent Curators International and Creative Time, SPURSE’s mobile laboratory and archive has been exhibited at The Graduate Center at CUNY, Museum London Ontario, the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University and the Albuquerque Museum
Most recently SPURSE has initiated an extended series of projects around the issue of food and ecology titled “Eat Your Sidewalk”. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, these projects have begun to circulate in a number of forums and in the fall of 2013 SPURSE was selected by Pitzer College to receive $50,000 as part of their Mellon grant funded Art and Ecology program. SPURSE has exhibited at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, ArtSpace in New Haven Connecticut, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Grand Arts, White Columns, the Kitchen and the Bemis Art Center. SPURSE’s work has been reviewed in Drain Magazine, Art Papers and Art Lies and has been included in several catalogs including The Interventionists (MassMOCA) and Experimental Geography (Independent Curators International/Creative Time). Besides exhibiting at numerous art venues, SPURSE has designed a variety of public projects, collaborating with large-scale NGOs such as the North Atlantic Marine Alliance, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Department of Environmental Conservations, River Keepers and Rural Action.
au•gust art festival project
In which we come to know the greater part of the stomach that lies outside of the body, consists of a temporary scavenger’s shack and series of foraging workshops designed to explore the complex entanglements of nature and culture that exist along the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail during the au•gust art festival. The headquarters for this project is located at the entrance to the Rosendale train trestle bridge, where you will find a scavenger’s shack containing tools for exploring, identifying and harvesting local plants as well as a provisional library related to foraging, ecology and the commons.
In which we come to know the greater part of the stomach that lies outside of the body culminates in Eat Your Sidewalk, a series of public foraging workshops held on Saturday, August 8, 15, and 22. Foraging transforms us from ethical shoppers and consumers of the local to engaged stewards, activists, foodies and curious experimental ecologists — shifting our perceptions and engagements so we can co-evolve a new sense of the local. In which we come to know the greater part of the stomach that lies outside of the body involves a series of workshops designed to collectively share the ecological systems of Rosendale and pleasurably explore the question of how we can enter new relationships with these systems via eating.