Terra Firma takes as its starting point the shifting relationship between the human and the land and its vegetation, destabilising any assumptions that the earth that we stand on is inanimate or neutral ground and examining how it has been framed, shaped and must be negotiated.
Through a series of ‘garden residencies’, and a summer programme of exhibitions, discursive and participatory events, Terra Firma will explore the tensions between human design and the innate behaviours and intelligence that reside in the natural and, more specifically, botanical world.
While we humans have been busily cultivating our own economic, social and political agendas for several centuries, over a much longer period plants, themselves sentient beings, have developed their own ways of responding to the environment: deciding how to put down roots, when to compete and when to share resources. Their capabilities are necessitated by their predicament of being rooted, unable to move when conditions become unfavourable.
Can a deeper consideration of the behaviours of the living landscape generate forms of knowledge required in order for we humans to navigate our current, uncertain times?
Key to the thinking behind the festival programme is an interest in interdisciplinary approaches and a desire to commission and exhibit works that move beyond the purely representational, that are active, performative and urgent in their consideration of our subject: the gestures that we make in the landscape, and an understanding of nature itself as a series of gestures.