Fallen Fruit (2013)
Instructions (read Carefully)
Hold the banana.
Close Your eyes.
As you connect with the banana allow a question,
a childhood memory, personal story, dream,
feeling, wish or request to come to mind.
Take a deep breath and press record.
Banana Hotline will translate our voices
into a living monument of sound.
ps. If you ask the banana a question,
your answer will come by morning.
Be prepared with pen and paper
and share your answers.
send us a link to your sound or video files or mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
a featured project for TEDActive 2013
One image of a series of public service-like announcements designed for Fair Exchange at The Los Angeles County Fair, a large exhibition of work based on the space of the city and the new artists, collectives and activists working on issues of urbanism, social justice and the environment. Urban Fruit Action encourages the planting of fruit trees in urban neighborhoods as a way to create a new culture of shared resources and engaged participation.
Public Fruit Maps, dimensions variable, 2004 – ongoing
One of Fallen Fruit’s core projects is to map neighborhoods to which we are invited, mapping all the fruit trees that grow in or over public space. The maps are hand-drawn and distributed free from copyright as jpgs and PDFs. They are regularly reproduced in the media and have been exhibited in museums and gallery exhibitions internationally. The dimensions of the maps are variable and range from 8” x 10” to 40” x 60”. This is an ongoing and ever-expanding project.
Public Fruit Tree Adoptions, public participatory project, 2007 – ongoing
Working with a variety of donors or organizations like TreePeople and civic groups, Fallen Fruit distributes free bare-root fruit trees in a variety of urban settings. We encourage the planting of these trees in either public space or on the periphery of private property, in order to create new kinds of communal life based on generosity and sharing. Each recipient signs an adoption form promising to care for the tree — initiating a relationship with it.
Fruit Machine, video, variable configuration, 2009 – ongoing
An ongoing project in which we videotape teenagers (age 12 to 17) eating a variety of fruit. A study in how we actually eat, the portraits range from graceful to awkward and comical, as the teenagers navigate what they quickly come to realize is a not-so-simple task. The videos are screened in configurations of 3 to 5 in a row in order to resemble a slot machine (whose windows often use fruit as symbols). Each video portrait runs for about 30 seconds then spins to another, in hopes that all the windows will align to the same fruit: the jackpot.\
Fallen Fruit of LACMA, solo exhibition, 2010
Drawing on the museum’s permanent collection, The Fruit of LACMA assembled work in several media (painting, photography, and decorative arts) to examine the haunting persistence of fruit in art. This exhibition examines the symbolic and sociological aspects of fruit in art, from religious symbolism to embedded social messages. Drawing on the museum’s permanent collection, The Fruit of LACMA assembled work in several media (painting, photography, and decorative arts) to examine the haunting persistence of fruit in art. This exhibition examines the symbolic and sociological aspects of fruit in art, from religious symbolism to embedded social messages. It includes a LACMA-commissioned piece from Fallen Fruit, as well as custom-designed wallpaper. The website for EATLACMA was participatory and integrated into the overall project, collecting videos, tweets, artist’s blogs and images. It includes a LACMA-commissioned piece from Fallen Fruit, as well as custom-designed wallpaper. The website for EATLACMA was participatory and integrated into the overall project, collecting videos, tweets, artist’s blogs and images.
American Family, giclee print, 40” x 60”, 2008
A large format, composited digital photograph re-staging Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa as an inquiry on the state of the American family, especially in regard to the food they eat – reflecting issues brought up by writers such as Michael Pollan in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The image has four characters standing in for the figures in Gericault’s painting, looking towards the horizon for rescue. In Gericault they have their backs to the viewer; here the parents and the children look past the viewer for hope and perhaps rescue from an unknown agent, perhaps the government, the world, or the spectator.
Public Fruit Wallpaper Salt Lake City, dimensions variable, 2011
Created for the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, this wallpaper depicts apple blossoms and budding apples against a Utah-sky blue backdrop. Everything in the image was collected over two days in Salt Lake City and the apple was chosen because of its place in the history of North American westward colonization.
Public Fruit Wallpaper Los Angeles, dimensions variable, 2010
A wallpaper consisting of all the public fruit found in our neighborhood of Silver Lake in Los Angeles on a single day in March, arranged in a traditional lattice-and-medallion pattern against a gradient sky. Because of the season, all of it is citrus, and it includes fallen fruit found in the gutter, some of it split, rotting, or with insects. Commission for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Public Fruit Theater, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2010-11
Rather than looking at fruit trees as simply a source of food, Public Fruit Theater examines the tree as a durational performance. Viewers complete the story through observation, witnessing the tree’s leafing out, blooming, and ripening of its fruit. The space is open to both performance and contemplation, observing the public or the fruit. The broken concrete of the installation indexes the margins of the city, the sidewalks that both connect us and separate us. Created in collaboration with La Loma Development.
Public Picnic Tables York, Alabama, installation, 2012
A set of ten picnic tables at the Coleman Arts Center engraved with quotations from the community of York, Alabama. Gathered at Gobble Gobble Cobbler, a fruit cobbler and public conversation event by Fallen Fruit, the quotes reflect the residents’ feelings about fruit, history and public space. The tables were crafted by a York carpenter, Dennis Sturdivant, of local materials.
Public Fruit Meditation, public participatory performance, 2011 – ongoing
An array of meditations and visualizations designed for small groups in intimate settings. Each sequence imagines fruit differently to raise consciousness about symbolic values, politics, social relations and fruit itself. Working within individual consciousness as well as interpersonal relationships, the various parts reconfigure how we might think about fruit and use it as a personal and social tool.
Fallen Fruit of Utah, solo exhibition, 2011
An eclectic collection of art, craft and domestic objects depicting fruit in various forms, assembled against a backdrop of specially designed wallpaper. Created for the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, the work was selected from the collections of ten regional museums and numerous Utah residents. Among the themes they explore are the social meaning of the watermelon, the role of the grape and wine, the symbolism of fruit orchards, and the variety of interpretations found in the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life.
EATLACMA, exhibition in three parts, 2010
EATLACMA was a yearlong residency at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with three major parts. The first was an exhibition of work from the permanent collection curated around the social topic of fruit, installed in a gallery with our Public Fruit Wallpaper, a LACMA commission. Six curated artist’s gardens probed the definition of the garden, asking if it could express an idea, or serve as a container for a set of questions and concepts. The culmination was a one-day event, curated with over fifty artists and collectives: Let Them Eat LACMA, which focused on the interaction of food, art and the public with a great variety of performances, installations, and participatory events.
Del Aire Public Fruit Park, public art installation, 2012
Working with residents of the Del Aire neighborhood in Hawthorne, California, this public fruit park attempts to transform the entire community. While focused on a single “eye” with 12 fruit trees, it is surrounded by 24 other fruit trees scattered throughout the park, and 48 trees adopted by residents and planted on the periphery of private and public property throughout the neighborhood. Commission from the Los Angeles County Department of Cultural Affairs.
Accion Fruta Urbana / Urban Fruit Action Tijuana, outdoor public installation, 2010
Our Urban Fruit Actions differ from Fruit Tree Adoptions in being more hands-on. They are direct, cooperative plantings of fruit trees in an urban neighborhood. An ongoing project, they were first initiated in Tijuana, Mexico and Madrid, Spain. Each Urban Fruit Action is site-specific, designed to address the neighborhood that it occupies, and intended to transform the function of the place. Tijuana’s trees are located in 55-gallon barrels to facilitate their mobility in the rapidly transforming border neighborhood of Colonia Federal. The barrels were designed by Peruvian artist Giacomo Castagnola with the colors of the Mexican and United State’s flags.
Our Urban Fruit Actions differ from Fruit Tree Adoptions in being more hands-on. They are direct, cooperative plantings of fruit trees in an urban neighborhood. An ongoing project, they were first initiated in Tijuana, Mexico and Madrid, Spain. Each Urban Fruit Action is site-specific, designed to address the neighborhood that it occupies, and intended to transform the function of the place. The trees in Madrid were originally intended to be dispersed in public space in the neighborhood around the Matadero arts complex, but their planting was stopped by the city. The trees found a home in Esta es una plaza, a communal garden in the neighborhood of Arganzuela: there they transform a former urban wasteland into a shared, multivalent space.
One of a pair of images on the politics of food and the relation of cities to the food they eat. The artists of Fallen Fruit stand before Los Angeles City Hall with a set of posters protesting the city’s insistence on barren landscaping. Much of Fallen Fruit’s work is in exploring alternative modes of sustainable landscaping, including public fruit trees. Our agrarian values call for turning the city into a sort of communal garden, which looks beautiful and begins to accommodate the food needs of its residents.
Fruit Stories, audio, video & photograph archive, 2008 – ongoing
One part of our long-term project The Colonial History of Fruit, is an archive of individual Fruit Stories on videotape. We’re interested in two kinds of colonialism: the history of the fruit itself, how it got from one part of the world (in the case of the banana, from New Guinea to Central America), and which political and economic forces pushed it along. The second history is more personal and social: how the banana (and other fruits) has touched individuals, from those who eat them to those who pick them, personal stories of the many different relations one can have to a fruit. These could be memories, dreams, fruits they heard of and never had, fruits they love or fruits they hate. This archive grows as we travel.
Neighborhood Infusions, 2008 – ongoing
An ongoing project by Fallen Fruit, in collaboration with Greenbar collective (greenbar.com) in which we pick the fruit we find on a certain street or locale, infuse it in vodka, and name it for the neighborhood. We’re interested in the essence of that place, to think about its unique qualities but also look at it as a template for creating more livable and individualized neighborhoods. The question Neighborhood Infusions asks is tinged with irony: can you capture the essence of a place in a bottle? The work is served off the wall by docents (rather than bartenders), who take time to interpret its implications for those interested in consuming it.
The Path is the Journey, video, 2009
Shot during a residency in Copenhagen, this video meditates on what is local and what it means to pay attention to place. An eleven-year-old boy leaves home, wondering about his place in the world. He finds bright yellow plums growing wild on the edge of his neighborhood and decides to pick them. Returning home alone, he makes jam out of them, and when he is done he leaves home to begin again. Without dialogue, the video has two voiceovers by the boy and two by his mother; the texts are from Kierkegaard, the Danish existential philosopher who lived his whole life in Copenhagen. They pose the question of how far beyond home you must go to find truth.
The Loneliest Fruit in World, video, 2010
While in a residency in Tromsø, Norway, 200 miles above the arctic circle, we became fascinated by arctic berries. The lingonberry, the salmonberry and the blueberry grow without any human involvement and for a few short weeks become the site of intense activity as people come to pick them. Against a beautiful, spare landscape peppered with tiny blueberries, the video follows a group of Norwegians who while picking negotiate the relation between solitude, gleaning and company. Following the berries, one gleaner leaves the group and has to decide whether to continue on her own path or re-join the group.
Love Apples, public art project with Islands of LA, 2008
An installation of seventy tomato plants on twelve traffic islands in LA, carefully tracked to see which thrive and which perish, à la Survivor, and then harvested in a public festival in August. “Love Apples” is an early European name for the tomato, which was considered an aphrodisiac. Our tomatoes were planted on unoccupied and irrigated public space, and nothing was destroyed or removed in placing them. The project was a test of the definition and use of public space in the city of Los Angeles, imagining new ways in which such spaces could be utilized for the enjoyment of all. Visitors were asked to sample but not hoard any tomatoes they find in public. To encourage people to explore the city’s forgotten spaces, a complete map was released in the final weeks of the project. Love Apples was a collaboration between Islands of LA (islandsofla.org) and Fallen Fruit.