In August 2021, we (Jill Sorensen and Mark van Wetering) bought a 3.5h piece of land in Raurimu, on the northern foothills of Ruapehu. It is four hours south of Auckland, and 589 metres above sea level. This somewhat unkempt combination of pasture, a creek, trees, and blackberry will be the site for an evolving experimental art-ecology project space. It is exciting to be in a place to be able to put our spare income potential into something we value rather than consuming more. The project is in its infancy, but as the price of land is skyrocketing, we thought we had better get in while we can still afford it. So, cart before horse, we have the place before we have a clear plan.
Initial project: Cohabitation Collaboration
Our vision is to facilitate a collaborative, creative, multi-disciplinary research hub for experimental rethinkings and hands-on reimaginings of multispecies cohabitation and regenerative food cycles. We envisage it to be both a practical, grounded research space and also a philosophical and critical space – a ground for thinking, feeling, writing, cohabiting, and making, while at the same time caring for and reinvigorating the land itself.
At this point, we are seeking to establish a loose community of interested people; involvement might range from collaborative vision-building, proposing and undertaking projects on the site, waterway and soil restoration, regenerative gardens, fruiting forests, developing an artist residency program or just offering advice and or moral support.
We are starting out with some exploratory vision sharing conversations, hopefully this will organically lead into interested parties regrouping for further conversations, vision brainstorming and planning.
If this sounds like the sort of thing you might be interested in, please do send me an email.