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Hanging Gardens PDF

Posted By Xavier Cortada, Monday, February 15, 2010

Eco-Art Project Launch

Hanging Gardens

Project URBAN PARADISE GUILD Eco-Art

in Partnership with Xavier Cortada


Sam Van Leer – Project Coordinator and Writer – sam@urban-paradise.org

Djordje – Layout and Photos – www.djordjeishere.com/ – hidjordje@gmail.com


UPG Hanging Gardens Number 1 January 2010: Launch


http://www.urban-paradise.org/

http://www.xaviercortada.com/?page=Hanging_Gardens


Urban Paradise Guild Launched the Hanging Gardens Project, and opened

a new Chapter and a new Partnership with internationally acclaimed Miami

Artist Xavier Cortada.


Philosophy + Community + Action = Progress

I aim to create vertical gardens inside the library comprised not of plants we want

to grow, but of those we want to kill. -Xavier Cortada



_ _ _ _ _ _ _

The future is beautiful when we transform the world we live in. Join Urban Paradise

Guild and we’ll create Urban Paradise together. -Sam Van Leer

It was a coming together of all parts of South Florida’s diverse community.

Early arrivals learned some UPG Intensive Stewardship Techniques while we

waited for everyone to get registered.


Xavier and I spoke about transformation, and how it was within each of us to

change the world. We introduced the Volunteers to Xavier’s concept. Then

we split the group into sub-groups, and we went to work.


Most of us went to Oleta’s South Point, an area that UPG Adopted in

November 2008. Our targets were Invasive Exotic Plants. We were especially

interested in Burma Reed as a raw material for Hanging Gardens.

It was MDC’s Martin Luther King Day of Service, and the reason we scheduled

this event on January 16. Many of the Service-Learning and Volunteers

from Miami Dade College (MDC), led by the Hialeah contingent, went to the

Nursery.


Almost 150 people came out on January 16 for Hanging Gardens Eco-Art Project Launch.

Many worked behind the scenes at MDC, Easter Seals and UPG to make it happen.

Top Left: Xavier Cortada, Miami Artist and philosopher. Top Right: Xavier Cortada learns

and practices UPG Organic Stewardship Techniques. Bottom: Burma Reed, transformed

into Raw Materials by UPG Volunteers, with Xavier Cortada (navy blue) and Sam Van Leer

(khaki).


All Photos: A Super-Team of UPG Volunteers, led by Service-Learning Intern Wataru J.

Hoelterman and Team Leader Eliza, tackled Invasives in the South Point Bike Path.

All Photos: Volunteers are the heart of Urban Paradise Guild. What started as strange

and unfamiliar for most Volunteers became a fun way to make an impact by the end.

Center: Bettie Bercaw (UPG Director of Apprentices), led a group of kids and parents.

Clockwise from top left: Organic Stewardship techniques in action against: Burma Reed is

dug out with Mattocks (a great workout). Scaevola is snipped, hauled to dry, and roots are

dug out or Solarized. Brazilian Pepper is Solarized when too big to dig out, and marked as

a habitat project. Teamwork makes big problems smaller and more manageable.

Nature is full of fun and interesting things. There is always something to photograph,

such as this crab claw found by kids on the beach. Kayaking is a blast, and this group

from Miami Dade College wanted all they could get.


Artist Meets Materials & Methods with UPG

Urban Paradise Guild has removed over 70,000 Destructive Exotic Plants

and Trees since we took on this mission in October 2008. Xavier Cortada

has raised consciousness about environmental issues through a series of

projects, and now conceptualized Hanging Gardens as a way to engage the

public about the Destructive nature of Exotics.


When Luiz Rodrigues (Executive Director of ECOMB) suggested to me that

we should work with Cortada, it was the start of something beautiful. I had

been planning to use Invasives as materials in mostly utilitarian ways. The

chance to explore their potential as raw materials for Art working with a

leader in the Eco-Art movement was too good to pass up.


Cortada and I exchanged ideas for months by phone and e-mail. We agreed

to Launch Hanging Gardens at the beginning of 2010. That would give

UPG a year to develop functional fabrication techniques, create Art using

those techniques, and to help the Artist install the Art at Miami-Dade Public

Libraries in 2011.


New Methods for Community Empowerment and Friendship


Many of the Volunteers from MDC and Easter Seals had never used the kinds

of tools you see in the photos. UPG Team Leaders showed them how to be

safe and effective. After the first 30 minutes of supervised work, the Volunteers

had their tasks well in hand, and were enjoying "getting physical” with

these Destructive Exotics.


For many, this was also their first experience with Volunteerism as a participatory

element of creating the American dream. Volunteers spoke with

every accent, and most from MDC Hialeah were practicing Service-Learning

as part of their English as a Second Language studies. Lots of groups started

in the morning as strangers, but were transformed into friends by the experience.


The progress made speaks for itself. This Super-Team nearly wiped out a

massive patch of Scaevola, and eliminated two of the last major clusters of

Burma Reed. Roughly 6,000 Destructive Invasives were eradicated.


Kids are Great Volunteers too


Many of the Volunteers from MDC and Easter Seals had never used the kinds

of tools you see in the photos. UPG Team Leaders showed them how to be

safe and effective. After the first 30 minutes of supervised work, the Volunteers

had their tasks well in hand, and were enjoying "getting physical” with

these Destructive Exotics.


For many, this was also their first experience with Volunteerism as a participatory

element of creating the American dream. Volunteers spoke with

every accent, and most from MDC Hialeah were practicing Service-Learning

as part of their English as a Second Language studies. Lots of groups started

in the morning as strangers, but were transformed into friends by the experience.


The progress made speaks for itself. This Super-Team nearly wiped out a

massive patch of Scaevola, and eliminated two of the last major clusters of

Burma Reed. Roughly 6,000 Destructive Invasives were eradicated.


Urban Paradise Guild practices and teaches Organic Stewardship


Many of the Volunteers from MDC and Easter Seals had never used the kinds

of tools you see in the photos. UPG Team Leaders showed them how to be

safe and effective. After the first 30 minutes of supervised work, the Volunteers

had their tasks well in hand, and were enjoying "getting physical” with

these Destructive Exotics.


For many, this was also their first experience with Volunteerism as a participatory

element of creating the American dream. Volunteers spoke with

every accent, and most from MDC Hialeah were practicing Service-Learning

as part of their English as a Second Language studies. Lots of groups started

in the morning as strangers, but were transformed into friends by the

experience.


The progress made speaks for itself. This Super-Team nearly wiped out a

massive patch of Scaevola, and eliminated two of the last major clusters of

Burma Reed. Roughly 6,000 Destructive Invasives were eradicated.


Fun isn’t mandatory, but…


UPG won’t force people to have fun, but we like to offer our Volunteers fun

ways to enjoy the Environment.


Most of our activities are "Work-n-Play Days”. That means we work in the

morning, have a picnic or BBQ, and then go kayaking.


Volunteers invest their time doing really good things for Nature, and we

want them to enjoy the places they invest in. Many city people have never

experienced the joys of exploring, and coming face-to-face with natural

wonders.


Some Volunteers have lots of paddling experience while others are first-timers.


Everyone has a chance to enjoy themselves. Oleta has secluded lagoons

that are perfect for learning new skills in small boats, sheltered from wind,

waves and wakes.


We wound up the day on the water. Service-Learning Students from Miami

Dade College (Hialeah Campus) knew what to expect – they have become

regulars with UPG.


Hanging Gardens Project Overview


As the project’s coordinator, Sam Van Leer will lead UPG in the implementation

of Hanging Gardens. Cortada’s participatory eco-art project is intended

to create demand for removal of Invasive Exotic Plants by inspiring their use

in artistic installations and as building materials.


During 2010-11, UPG volunteers will remove Invasive Exotic plants and trees

to protect and restore Native Habitat, develop techniques that create new

building materials from them, and use the materials to create artistic and

utilitarian objects.


Cortada, supported by UPG, will install our Art in Miami-Dade Public Libraries

in 2011. UPG will coordinate Workshops to demonstrate and teach these

techniques to the public at Libraries and other locations.


Urban Paradise Guild is still at work!


You’ll find us EVERY MONTH at:

• Matheson – 1st Saturday

• Oleta – 2nd Saturday

• Oleta – 4th Sunday


New Partners request involvement with UPG regularly, and with Hanging

Gardens we can offer them an artistic side to our work. Stay tuned for new

developments in February!


How do you fit in?


Urban Paradise Guild is for everyone who want to re-make the world we live

in into an Urban Paradise. How will you help? Perhaps it will be Seeds of

Change, serving South Florida and Haiti, or Hanging Gardens, or the Biscayne

Bay Initiative. Explore our Initiatives menu of some of our many options.

Students of all ages can get involved. There are Internships for College

Students.


To get involved in Hanging Gardens or another UPG project or initiative,

please visit:


http://www.urban-paradise.org/join-us/become-volunteer and fill out

the user form. Please tell us what you’re interested in and how you heard

about us.


Copyright, Urban Paradise Guild and Xavier Cortada, 2008, 2009, 2010



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FIU College of Architecture + The Arts


Xavier Cortada
Artist-in-Residence
Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts
420 Lincoln Road, Suite 430
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Xavier Cortada's participatory art practice is based at Florida International University.






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