im/Migration of the Species

May 31 - July 15, 2008
Governors 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.

Governor's Island looks like an ice cream cone when seen from above. The rounded "scoop" part was the original land mass, and the "cone" part was created in the early 1900's by the rubble from the Lexington Avenue excavation.

We used this natural/non-natural aspect of the island to define where we would plant native and non-native bean varieties. Over the course of six weeks, we tended to the plot to see which side would reach the top first. A non-native species was first, but the entire plot was hit with a fungus in the last week, with only some lonely mushrooms remaining.