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 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
‘underfoot‘, Audio, 2019
// ABOUT FUNGUS PRESS
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.