For some it's knitting, for others discussing books or building bikes- there's nothing like a shared task to make new ideas sprout from groups of people. That's one of the goals behind the Seed Project: an art instillation that can exist anywhere in the world, anytime someone decides to participate. You can purchase seed packets, which also contain instructions, in batches of ten - the idea being that you use one and give the other nine to friends. You then grow your seeds in some creative way, send a photo of your work back to the Seed Project, and wait for the next exhibition, where your plant will be shown along with its siblings- the same plant, each grown in a different way. Then, hopes founder David Cohen, you'll organize your own Seed event or start a totally new project with fellow growers.
The other goal is more straightforward- to get people to grow plants. Cohen believes that many of our social and environmental problems can be traced back to the disconnect between city dwellers and nature. Through the Seed Project, he wants to give people a creative way to develop consciousness on a small scale- consciousness that will hopefully translate to larger decisions they'll have to make. Cohen's found particularly fertile ground for this idea in public schools, where he's currently working to start seed projects among students that they'll then exhibit and share.
I first met David Green during a GreenDrinks last spring. He was about to launch his magazine Artworld Digest and began telling me about his "distributed instillation" concept for the Seed Project. Cohen calls it a virtual garden on his site, but that conjures images of late-90's websites that had just discovered Flash, rather than his project's limitless possibility. Cohen hopes that the common experience of growing wheat grass from seeds into vibrant tendrils will lay the foundation for other collaborations between the participants, and that the project will eventually become self-sustaining. You can get involved right away by purchasing packets from the Seed Project site or from select Whole Foods stores in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.