No corner of the earth has been left undisturbed by human activity, from the cells in our bodies to the global scale of the climate. How do we define this place, where the boundaries between culture and nature blur? We struggle with a poverty of metaphors to adequately articulate our presence within a complex and often mysterious network of interspecies relationships.
Art offers the opportunity to create new metaphors, to write a poetry that expresses our contemporary condition and suggests alternate futures. Grow Op celebrates this pursuit by developing projects that help us make sense of our rapidly changing landscapes, identify nature’s persistence within our cultural environments, and recognize how culture frames our very ideas of nature.
The Gladstone Hotel’s Grow Op is an exhibition of art and design that cultivates curiosity across a broad range of disciplines examining how humans and other species live within, without, and despite natural systems of growth, change, abundance, scarcity, death and decay.
What happens when a tree won’t fall down? Could a pickle farm change the way we teach ourselves to grow food? What can hospitality and design bring to experiments with urban wildlife?
Now in its fourth year, the expanded 2016 edition of Grow Op features a collection of ecological curios, from explorers, artists, farmers, landscape architects, anthropologists, advocates, historians, and healers. The Gladstone Hotel’s role as a cultural hub, integrating architectural preservation and adaptation, provides a fitting habitat for an immersive experience of 30 selected works and a reference point for the growing collection of off-site projects that reach outwards into the city beyond.
With programming across several days, this year’s exhibition draws together a thought-provoking set of possibilities to reframe our understanding of the continuities within urban and wild, culture and nature, and to continue to cultivate our curiosity as we make our way through this world.
© 2021 LeuWebb Projects