The Next Epoch Seed Library reimagines the traditional seed bank for the oncoming Anthropocene. Rather than gathering and preserving agricultural heritage from the pre-Monsanto era, this seed bank focuses on weedy species most likely to survive and thrive in a landscape dominated by human excess.
The Next Epoch Seed Library exists as a fluid, crowd-sourced collection of seeds and as a series of physical installations. The project is on view as part of Nectar: War Upon the Bees at Pratt Manhattan Gallery from December 9, 2016-February 11, 2017. During January and early February we have our winter headquarters at Wave Hill as part of their Winter Workspace Program. We have drop in open library hours every Sunday from 1-3 pm. Come visit!
Above: Documentary short by Candace Thompson
Above: NESL: Habitats, Collecting, Processing, 2016 (self-produced video with contributions from Milcah Bassel, 1067 PacificPeople, Owen Levelle, Dan Phiffer)
Stocked with seeds gathered from the vacant lots, street verges, superfund sites and abandoned infrastructure of the greater New York City area, the seed bank provides a gene pool of tough, highly adaptable plants well suited to live in close quarters with humans and their attendant landscape transformations.
Providing services like soil stabilization, moisture retention, heat-island reversal, toxic bioaccumulation and medicinal and nutritional attributes, these plants will be the ideal pioneer species, forming the base of new, novel ecosystems as we move through the bottleneck of the sixth mass extinction.
Thank you for your interest in contributing to the Next Epoch Seed Library! NESL is an artist run project that encourages public participation. We think seed gathering is an enjoyable activity that encourages contact between humans and the plant species that form the basis of our urban ecosystems. Please read the guidelines below and get in touch with any questions. We’d be happy to list you on our website as a contributing member of NESL.
NESL is primarily interested in plant species that live in close association with humans, but that have not been planted or maintained purposefully; in short, weeds! Growing where others can’t or won’t, the plants held in our seed bank are those best adapted to live in the long shadow we throw on the landscape. They are companion plants for the Anthropocene age.