Join south London artist, Rachel Gomme, this Wednesday on an exciting walk “Undergrowth”. An investigation into the natural growth amid the concrete, brick and asphalt of two of south London’s neighbourhoods, Peckham and Denmark Hill.
From carefully planted trees and well-maintained flower beds to grass growing between paving stones or moss on a wall, nature is everywhere in our buzzing city. This walk will allow individuals to reconnect with the natural within the city, and with the human body as part of nature.
Undergrowth is a celebration of disorder, of wildness, of anarchy. Rachel’s interest is in the plants that are growing in places where they’re not invited, or if they are invited, in ways they’re not invited to – plants that are breaking the rules.
These are what we generally think of as weeds: one definition of a weed is a plant that’s growing in the wrong place. And the big question there is – who decides what’s the wrong place?
We normally try to get rid of these plants, suppress them, but Rachel wants participants to celebrate their presence and their persistence.
“I think there’s something in all of us that responds to their wildness – after all, we’re part of the same nature, we have some of that wildness in us – even if now it’s only the one foot that’s bigger than the other, or the bit of hair that will never stay where you want it to. And disorder, spontaneity, anarchy are the source of evolution: if it wasn’t for those maverick mutant genes, which eventually proved essential to survival, we wouldn’t be here now.
Despite our concerns with damage and danger and disorder, I think we need to value and celebrate their wildness. If I imagine a city entirely of brick and concrete and glass and stone, all grey straight lines, if I imagine a city without wildness, I have a feeling that something in us would be less alive.”
Undergrowth will follow a meandering route from Peckham Rye railway station to Denmark Hill on Wednesday 27 June from 6.15pm – join Rachel for a 90 minute walk by simply registering at http://wednesdayafterworkwalk1.eventbrite.co.uk/
Places are limited and on-llne booking is essential – there is a modest charge of £12 per person, but if you bring a friend both you and they qualify for a £2 cash discount on the day. Each participant will receive their own field journal to record their findings.