Petrichor.

Petrichor

a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather;

a unity of person, place, environment, activated through sited personal experience.

In the shadow of an increasingly unheeded environmental crisis, with US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and UK political abstinence from sustainable concerns in the face of political and economic turmoil, we will be the promoters of the nonhuman and aggravators of disconnection. This year we will enter one of perhaps the most unrecognized of fragile habitats, the city. It is easy to see salt marshes, dunes or wilderness as fragile, but the city? Yet feeding unchecked on untold remote finite resources, whilst cocooned in an anthropocentric constructed reality increasingly disconnected from the natural systems on which it depends, the city is a highly fragile environment with a limited future. To feed its habits it scours the earth for resources and breathes out toxins, beginning to destroy the very things it needs to survive. The sixth major extinction event, the anthropocene extinction, has already laid claim to numerous species as habitats disappear, temperatures rise and weather patterns change. Ourselves and our habitat, the city, are not immune, reliant for our own future on the very things we destroy.

Within the context of the UN decade of biodiversity and set within the bounds of the UNESCO Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere Reserve, we will engage with the aims of the Biosphere Research Working Group to explore potentials for new approaches for development within the city at its heart, Brighton. Before it is too late we aim to activate re engagement and realize interconnection, rewriting hegemonic oppositional divides: city/landscape, man/nature, to reveal alternate futures inhabited by architectures of interconnection and embodiment; realizing the interconnection embodied within petrichor.

This year we will look at how thoughts build a world, the temporal constructs we inhabit and their relationship to our environment and potential futures. We will define our own taxonomies, reveal myths and narratives, categorize ghosts and dispel truths, constructing bespoke angling equipment particular to the society’s unique fishing interests to assist us with our investigations. Our site will be the historic route of the spring fed Wellesbourne River in Brighton. Now flowing unseen, culverted and constrained, its ghost is awakened in high rainfall when the waterway’s historic course is reignited only to flow unrecognized along city streets. We will re-establish the lost river within local imaginations through the inauguration of the Wellesbourne Angling Society with its symbol the Burbot fish thought extinct in British waterways since 1969. Under this guise we will open up our imagined futures, offering alternatives and encouraging critique.