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Archive for June, 2017

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Good Things Mag is a documentarium series founded by Victoria Stöcker in Monterey, California. Each issue explores a theme through a number of art forms (articles, collage, photography, illustration, essays, poetry, etc). In Issue 2 (June 2017), Victoria gathered several contributors to reflect upon all the things we can learn from plants from a variety of viewpoints, such as the life of the tallest trees on Earth or the first plant harvested and consumed in space. I contributed to the article Plant Music with the collaboration of Victoria and Evan Crankshaw from the Flash Strap blog. In this article we survey the history of plant music and review the different ways in which musicians and sound artists have been using plants to create music.

Michael Prime, Mileece, Miya Masoaka, Joe Patitucci, Magz Hall, Mort Grason, John Cage and Roger Roger are a few of the artists included. Plant music practices are divided into generative music by plants, vegetative music by plants, music for plants and music about plants. The article expands on and updates some of the references featured in Zepelim’s installment Plant Consciousness and Communication

Good Things We Learn From Plants is a beautifully curated magazine full of gems about plant life and plant related art. You can order a copy here or visit Victoria Stöcker’s page here.

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April 30th, 2017 – It’s early afternoon on a Sunday when a small group of people starts to gather around a jug band playing near the Smith–Ninth Street subway station exit. Eli Smith, the co-founder of the Brooklyn Folk Festival and long time banjo player, welcomes everybody to this year’s edition of the Banjo Toss Competition, one of the most anticipated events of the three-day folk festival. The jug band leads the parade from the corner of Smith-Ninth Street to the Gowanus Canal, a federally designated Superfund site also known as the Brooklyn’s nautical purgatory. The rules are simple: whoever throws the banjo the furthest is the winner. But for everyone attending this ritual, throwing the banjo into the canal feels less like a competition and more like a moment of catharsis. Nevertheless, the banjo toss champion wins a brand new banjo. As a precaution, plastic gloves are provided to each participant to avoid contact with the polluted waters. Next, the banjo tossers test their throwing techniques, evaluate wind conditions, the jug band sets the rhythm, and the banjo finally makes its dive into the waters of the Gowanus Canal.

Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn

Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn

In this radio piece, Eli Smith guides us through the Banjo Toss, explaining its origins and mythos. Smith is a banjo player, writer, radio host, researcher and promoter of folk music. You can find more about his work and music here. Or visit the Brooklyn Folk Festival and the Jalopy Theatre & School of Music.

Brooklyn Folk Festival 2017

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