Spurse (Matthew Friday and Iain Kerr)

Matthew Friday and Iain Kerr of SPURSE

SPURSE is a collective of ecosystem artists and designers that work with those who are meeting complex environmental and social challenges. SPURSE works with institutions, infrastructures, and regions to co-create ecosystems that produce adaptive solutions. The art SPURSE makes are things like public policy papers, oral history archives, environmentally engineered wetlands, free public restaurants, bacterial laboratories for art museums, nomadic clothing and housing systems, research institutes to study urbanism and smart phone applications.

SPURSE begins each project by inclusively determining the leverage points within ongoing processes that can be leveraged to catalyze meaningful material and social transformations. To fully engage these questions SPURSE frequently employs the tools and techniques of disciplines outside art including ecological design, community organizing and systems engineering.

SPURSE is guided by a strong interest in aesthetics, as both a means to re-sensitize people to the world they are of and as a technique of assembling new material and social configurations.

As one of four research teams invited in 2011 to design public programming for the BMW Guggenheim lab, SPURSE networked with urban ecologists, architects and environmental engineers to design over twenty different site-specific research tours for the public. These pedagogical interventions were collected in the form of a research atlas and purchased by the Guggenheim museum to become part of their permanent collection. SPURSE had developed an Iphone application, site-specific installation and public programming as part of the 2011 Contemporary Art Forum Kitchner and Area Biennial in Ontario Canada. As part of a traveling exhibition organized by Nato Thompson on the part of the Independent Curators International and Creative Time, SPURSE’s mobile laboratory and archive has been exhibited at The Graduate Center at CUNY, Museum London Ontario, the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University and the Albuquerque Museum

Most recently SPURSE has initiated an extended series of projects around the issue of food and ecology titled “Eat Your Sidewalk”. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, these projects have begun to circulate in a number of forums and in the fall of 2013 SPURSE was selected by Pitzer College to receive $50,000 as part of their Mellon grant funded Art and Ecology program. SPURSE has exhibited at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, ArtSpace in New Haven Connecticut, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Grand Arts, White Columns, the Kitchen and the Bemis Art Center. SPURSE’s work has been reviewed in Drain Magazine, Art Papers and Art Lies and has been included in several catalogs including The Interventionists (MassMOCA) and Experimental Geography (Independent Curators International/Creative Time). Besides exhibiting at numerous art venues, SPURSE has designed a variety of public projects, collaborating with large-scale NGOs such as the North Atlantic Marine Alliance, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Department of Environmental Conservations, River Keepers and Rural Action.

DeepTime/RapidTime Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO 2007-2009 “Deep Time Rapid Time” is a laboratory/training site for sensing and rethinking temporality. At the center of the investigation is a philosophical question about how we sense time which, spurse argues, holds deep practical and political implications for our contemporary situation and for our rapidly changing future. “Deep Time Rapid Time” begins with questions such as these and aims to address them at levels beyond abstraction or representation—viewing them as embodied worldly problems which can be creatively and collaboratively engaged to create “new modes of enaction” using a wide range of experimental strategies. As such, the project is also conceived as an “elaborate emergent trial/game,” with materials and logics drawn from the realms of clothing and textile design, plant biology and engineering, paleontology, architecture, philosophy, rare book holdings, augmented reality/visualization research, and numerous other sources.
Pitzer Multi-Species Commons Pitzer College, Claremont, CA. Pitzer College’s Art + Environment program and SPURSE, an environmental design collective, launch Pitzer Multi-Species Commons—a new way to understand and interact with the Pitzer College campus. Across the College’s grounds, signs and sculptural works made from reclaimed materials prompt Pitzer’s community to see campus as a space shared by many species.
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