Slow Pony Project, Chicago IL 2016

Stella Brown literally set up shop for the 2nd Floor Rear Festival by converting Slow Pony Projects, a previous butcher shop, into a seed shop and installation of prairie taxonomy. Brown responded to human induced shifts in our global ecology and the collective anxiety over preserving what is left. Although specialists working in ecological restoration often seek to re-create these environments as pristine replicas of the past landscape, the repercussions of the initial urbanization has already occurred, shifting natural space into human designed space. By selling prairie seeds, Brown is packaging and distributing elements of this landscape as a way of encouraging the viewer to participate in the renewal process through their own garden technology, as well as point to problematic commodification of these fragile landscapes through urban development. While the prairie restoration project designates land to recreate something similar to the previous prairie habitats, we also have the opportunity to co-exist with these landscapes in our private space. Gardening can be a tool for promoting these habitats in co-operation with our homesteading; the prairie can thrive on in our yards, roofs, and alleys.   -Liz McCarthy, Curator