FUNGUS PRESS RESIDENCY // Sean Roy Parker // ‘in)organic~matter(s
‘in)organic~matter(s’, Sean Roy Parker
// 4 Apr – 2 June 2019
Littering is a particular rejection of responsibility that has come to define underloved urban spaces and human disdain for the natural environment. Ecological crisis is forcing us to address the mess, revealing unsavoury personal habits and a severe abuse of greenspace. Unloved land is big business in Croydon; property developers are more likely to capitalise on areas the council can’t afford to upkeep.
A counter-argument is to treat funding cuts in park maintenance as an opportunity for rewilding the commons. The unbelievable diversity of native flora in Croydons’ parks is worth celebrating, but we have lost the language. “Weeds” can also be identified as ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dandelion is among the most nutritious, ubiquitous, and therefore sustainable food sources on earth. It’s cancer-fighting leaves make a great salad, the flowers brew an anti-inflammatory tea and roasted roots can be ground into a coffee substitute.
Wildflowers have many amazing historical uses in cuisine, medicine and DIY; nettle fibres twined made a strong rope, goutweed relieved cholesterol amongst monks, red clover was traditionally used as a sedative in infirmaries. Modern common names are bright, mellifluous and mysterious, often hinting at the physical properties or appearance that were deduced hundreds of years ago. The short and sweet existence of flora on our commons is easily surpassed by litter. A chickweed flower lasts three to five days: a chocolate wrapper will never degrade.
It’s our civic duty to preserve these spaces; to keep them clean, cherish their lumps and bumps, brave them wet and dry. We Must Be Present in Parks or the Permanence of Thoughtlessness will Survive the ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Sean Roy Parker lives and works in London. He has recently exhibited in ‘The romance of flowers’ at Kingsgate Project Space, London, ‘Permission Slip’ at Good Press, Glasgow, ‘SURPLUS’ at Peak Art, London (all 2018) and has an upcoming project with Chaos Magic, Nottingham. His public programming initiative PEFA Projects has collaborated with Our Human Library, Liverpool (2019), Bloc Projects, Sheffield (2018) and Cell Project Space, London (2017). Parker runs Brixton Pound Café, London’s only radical pay-what-you-can community café, and is a Lead Artist on Get The Message, Camden Arts Centre’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools programme.
As concerns grow regarding the privatisation of public spaces across London, and elsewhere, Fungus Press invites artists, designers & writers to respond to Croydon’s public spaces through a series of newly commissioned billboard artworks.
Sites include; Wandle Park’s community garden and pond; Park Hill Park’s walled garden; and Reeves Corner. The programme of artworks is complimented by a series of other works, including; published texts, walking tours and an audio guide.
The text-based posters aim to discuss and celebrate the importance and potential of Croydon’s public spaces, offering alternative ways to navigate the area; both geographically and temporally. They speak of Croydon’s untold past and its yet to be written future; reasserting the essential role that green spaces play throughout civic life: from articulating our sense of place, to encouraging democratic engagement.
The Reeves Corner structure was designed by George Chinnery. This structure uses visual signifiers from its immediate environment, including the ‘House of Reeves’ furniture shop and the Reeves Corner roundabout’s white picket fence. The structure also references the recent history of the area, commemorating the Reeves’ family furniture shop, part of which was sadly burnt down in Croydon’s 2011 riots.
The Park Hill Park noticeboard was designed and made by artist & woodcarver Esme Toler.
View previous Fungus Press Residencies here and past commissions (pre-residency) here.