im/Migration of the Species

May 31 - July 15, 2008
Governor's Island

Im/Migration of the Species explores the many meanings of native and non-native by instigating a plant war of native and non-native species to be fought in an arena shaped like Governor's Island. Visitors are invited to propagate the war in their own backyards by taking available native and non-native seed packets and planting them in vacant lots around the city.

We started the army of seedlings about two weeks before installation. We made sure to plant the seeds anonymously, so that we could not favor one side over the other. The initial seedlings were all beans plants, which will grow fast vines that will climb up the fishing lines.

Collective members set to work on propaganda for the show. Ernest designed a family crest bearing the images of native and non-native flora and fauna to represent our dedication to the cause. Note the long-beaked English Starling and the Norway Rat.

We used this as the logo for our seed packets, with instructions for seed propogation on the back.


Behind the seed packets, visitiors/participants would find one of four different spraypainted symbols: a green skull, yellow stars, a red rose, or a brown pile of poo.

This added an element of chance to choosing a seed packet.

Mafe created a suite of propaganda posters that posit the propagation of milkweed and the subsequent revitalization of the Monarch Butterfly population as our duty as citizens of the world.

This is a view looking down onto the planter box after the initial planting of the seedlings and the installation of the fishing lines that the vines will climb on.

Here is a close-up view of the barbed wire that separates the "original" land mass of Governor's Island from the addition created later on from landfill.

We had our first casualty.

Glen tends to the non-native plants.

In the foreground, you can see our makeshift, lo-fi irrigation system, disguised as bombs. In the background are three posters promoting the most exciting battles taking place in the planter box/arena.