Amy Franceschini’s “A Farm that Sailed Away”

The Art of Propagation: Amy Franceschini “A Farm that Sailed Away”
Response by Alma Mikulinsky

How can one be in two places at the same time? Simultaneously in a brewery in Toronto and on a boat sailing on the North Sea?

In her performative lecture A Farm that Sailed Away, Amy Franceschini both described her experiences as a crew member on RS-10 Christiania during the project Seed Journey and transported us to deep sea in an expedition of our own. As she recounted the project’s mission and principles, she also asked us to think how we would fare on a ship: what poetic and survival skills we possess that could be handy for a long journey at sea, what books we would read if we were sailing for weeks without land in sight.

But the focus of the evening was in telling, not re-enacting; Christiania, the ship that is a farm carried ancient seeds found in different locations in the Northern Hemisphere (Russia, Norway, Belgium) and retraced the journey the specimen took from their native lands– from North to South, from West to East – in a symbolic reversal. But the geographical voyage is also a temporal one: Seed Journey is a project that utilized old – and practically obsolete – means of transportation, communication and propagation attempting to recreate them in our technologically-saturated present: the seeds were all but lost and no longer grow in their countries of origin, the boat was 200 year-old, and the crew opted for Morse communicating instead of satellite and radio.

This slow journey did not follow a clear schedule as it meandered and detoured, extending its mission to rescue other seeds and delivering them to their original homes along the way. This luxurious approach to time turned into time travel as the crew protested the omnipresence of agricultural companies and their international hold on contemporary food production. By doing so, Seed Journey seek to bring back, literally, local agricultural traditions back to life by finding and delivering safely ancient seeds back home.

A Farm That Sailed Away

Amy Franceschini’s A Farm That Sailed Away, part of The Art of Propagation, Wednesday, October 11 at Henderson Brewery.