Seed Mast (Sharjah Biennial 13)

Futurefarmers is an international collective of artists, activists, farmers and architects. Through various media, they reconfigure or circumvent the prevailing logic of food policy, public transportation and rural farming networks in order to gain deeper insight into the inner workings of these systems.

Seed Mast (2017) takes the form of a sailing mast and serves as a literal and metaphorical antenna to Futurefarmers’ seafaring project Seed Journey (2017), a voyage in which ancient grains are transported to their geographic origins throughout the Middle East. Occupying the precarious place of contraband, the diverse biological matter is dispersed through currents, hand-to-hand networks and radio spectrums accessed via wires attached to the mast. Through a slow-scan television, Seed Mast will receive transmissions from the journey, mirroring the pace of the sailing vessel. Thought of as ‘reverse migration’, the collective aims to accent the rights of small farmers. The project also situates grains as emancipatory actors with respect to intellectual property rights pertaining to biological matter.

ARE YOU RECEIVING ME? (2017) is a linear display of 24 postcards that evoke a horizon line. The cards were the result of a project in which one message per hour, throughout an entire day, was sent via radio from Seed Journey to anthropologist Michael Taussig at his home in Brooklyn, US. A system of postcards was used to confirm reception of each message sent by artist Amy Franceschini. Adopting QSL Card vernacular used in the early days of radio broadcasting, each card included original watercolour by the artist and remarks by the anthropologist.

For SB13, Futurefarmers assemble as Amy Franceschini, Pieter Heremans, Martin Lundberg, Joe Riley, Audrey Snyder, Michael Swaine, Michael Taussig and Marthe Van Dessel.

This project was part of Sharjah Biennial 13.