Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Experience Walkabout Farm in this First Public Event,
Hear from the Artist About His Work in Detroit and Around the Globe,
And Enjoy Live Music by Jeremy Kittel in a Cocktail Setting
A one-night special event to experience Walkabout Farm, which opened in spring 2017 as part of Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen’s Planetary Community Chicken (PCC) project in Detroit. The cocktail party will include a presentation by Vanmechelen highlighting his collaborations with Wasserman Projects and Oakland Avenue Urban Farm, as well as opportunities to engage in conversation with the artist and other leadership in attendance. Guests will also enjoy a performance by Grammy-winning musician Jeremy Kittel in a relaxed cocktail environment.
The evening marks the first time Walkabout Farm has been opened for a public event, and supports Vanmechelen’s ongoing work in Detroit, as he continues to explore the role of art and artists in building healthy, vibrant communities.
Following the much-acclaimed presentation of his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (CCP) at Wasserman Projects in fall 2016, Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen launched the next phase of his Detroit-based collaborations—the Planetary Community Chicken (PCC)—in spring 2017. Developed in partnership with Wasserman Projects and Oakland Avenue Urban Farm, PCC highlights how artists and art projects can connect with and benefit communities, extending artistic endeavor into social practice.
The PCC program breeds, through natural means, roosters from Vanmechelen’s flock of Cosmopolitan Chickens with commercially-raised hens from local communities. The offspring carry the genetic diversity of 20 generations of Cosmopolitan Chickens, along with traits inherent to local populations and important to adaptability. This mixing of gene pools is intended to increase the health and life expectancy of the chickens, and as a result also increase the sustainability and productivity of small farm operations. The Detroit PCC chickens, along with their parent chickens, are being cared for at Walkabout Farm, maintained by Gary Wasserman, founder of Wasserman Projects.
As part of PCC, eggs—produced by chickens bred in the program—are being brought to sale at Oakland Avenue Urban Farm and other markets at which the Farm operates, including Eastern Market. The incorporation of eggs into the Farm’s operations responds to a community need that Farm owner Jerry Hebron identified in fall 2016, and marks the newest phase in the partners’ ongoing collaborations. Walkabout Farm’s some 150 chickens and operations will eventually be transferred to Oakland Avenue Urban Farm, further supporting their mission to expand access to healthy foods in its community.
The Planetary Community Chickens are artworks in their own right, representing the importance of both global and local experience to creating something new and more resilient.