Food for Free (Brandon Hill) was commissioned by Arnolfini as part of ‘Craftivism’ a contemporary art project held at Arnolfini in winter 2009 which examined the resurgent interest in craft as it relates to socially-engaged art practices.
Since 2004 Heath Bunting and Kayle Brandon have been mapping the edible plant organisms that live within public realms of Bristol. Plants that are rooted in private domains yet branch into public space are included in this survey. Potential planting sites are also investigated, with the aim to increase the life spectrum of the city. The map is not like an A to Z; it doesn’t have road names. The map can be navigated by following the contours of the roads, the defining shapes of the city, the plant locations as points of reference.
As Part of ‘Craftivism’ the artists were invited to produce a map of the city centre park, Brandon Hill, showing the many plants, berries, and fruit that could be eaten and picked there. The map was designed to be installed at Arnolfini for the duration of the exhibition, and used by the public to take brass rubbings – thus providing a map they could take away with them.
Following the exhibition, Arnolfini worked with Bristol City Council Parks dept to re-locate the brass plate to Brandon Hill where it can be used as a guide and for rubbings, situated in the terrain the map covers.
The map was launched on the 22nd May 2009 with an unveiling ceremony, followed by opportunities to make brass rubbings of the map and to partake in the party. The public were invited to come to the launch dressed as animals and plants, woodland or urban and to bring al picnic.
Andy Hamilton co-author of the Self-Sufficient-ish Bible lead a walk/talk tour of Brandon Hill identifying some of the edible plants growing within the park, followed by live music from: Juan Gabriel, The Dagger Brothers and Jen Steiner which was accompanied by the Order of the Black Tulip who held an informal Tambourelli Championship in the Park.
Relational is an independent non-profit contemporary visual arts agency based in Bristol, UK. It facilitates relationships between artists, organisations and communities to produce projects that encourage critical engagement with international contemporary art. Relational’s focus is on extending notions of context-led and participative working in the wider social realm.
Arnolfini is one of Europe’s leading independent, contemporary arts organizations, and is the flagship art centre for the South West of England with over 350,000 visitors annually. 2011 is the year of Arnolfini’s 50th anniversary. Since its foundation in 1961, Arnolfini has built an international reputation for commissioning and presenting innovative, experimental work in the visual arts, always with a strong emphasis upon audience engagement. Many thousands of artists and performers have been involved with Arnolfini during this time, often gaining their first opportunity before going on to long-term success, and this wealth of creativity has been appreciated and enjoyed by consistently large audiences. Much of this groundbreaking work would not have been made or shown in Bristol and the South West region without the Arnolfini. Previous major solo exhibitions at Arnolfini have included: Marcel Broodthaers, Bridget Riley, Richard Long and Liam Gillick, as well as more recently Cosima von Bonin in 2011.