Showing the Future

The project proposes an artistic intervention for the city of Amsterdam with a project called Sowing the future. During this project, we seeded coriander in the unused spaces in Amsterdam. Coriander takes approximately fifteen days to grow, therefore in about two weeks, these empty unused spaces got covered with small coriander fields. This artistic intervention, which Amsterdam’s residents was invited to take part in, is a step towards a future where wealth is replaced by wellness and selfless sharing is encouraged. 

 

We invited the residents to seed, farm, share and use the coriander with us and with each other. That way, we changed the physical landscape of the neighbourhood and in two weeks since we start seeding there was a lot of coriander fields - in public and private spaces, indoors and outdoors, in the cracks of pavement, in parks and gardens, on rooftops; wherever there is enough soil, sun and water to sustain it. By this simple act, we propose a chain reaction that leads to a more selfless, caring and empathetic future of the particular neighbourhood of Amsterdam. 

 

This intervention is inspired by a smaller scale project carried out in Amsterdam during which we seeded coriander in yards, public gardens, parks, along streets, roads and canals or in small wasteland areas. The following poem accompanied this project:

 

I am not sowing seeds, but sowing our future

 

मैं बीज़ बो रहा हूँ ,

मैं बीज़ बो रहा हूँ, 

धान के नहीं, गेहूं के नहीं, 

सरसों के नहीं, गन्ने के नहीं,

ना ही पिपरमिंट के। 

धनिये के , बस धनिये के बीज, 

लहरा दूंगा,महका दूंगा, 

पुरे एम्स्टर्डम शहर को, 

धनिये के पौंधों से,

जहाँ भी दिखेगी मुझे ख़ाली ज़मीन,

वहीं बो दूंगा धनिये के बीज। 

कोई उम्मीद, कोई आशा नहीं, बस बीज बो रहा हूँ। 

दरअसल मैं बीज नहीं, हमारा भविष्य बो रहा हूँ। 

 

English translation:

I am sowing seeds, 

I am sowing seeds, 

Not of paddy, not of wheat,

Not of mustard, not of sugarcane,

Nor of peppermint,

Of coriander, just coriander seeds. 

I will wave, all over the city of Amsterdam,

With coriander leaves, 

Wherever I see empty land,

I will sow coriander seeds there.

With no hope, no expectation, just sowing seeds.

I am not sowing seeds but sowing our future.

 

We gave coriander seeds to the audience members of our community and let them decide where to seed them. This coriander came from my father’s organic farm in India and it changed Amsterdam’s landscape over the weeks when it grew. It was brought to Europe from a long distance on a plane and therefore had a carbon footprint on it. With this thought-provoking action, we drew attention to the complexities of such simple action in the current globalised world and the hypocrisies that Europe often overlooks.