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life work & projects

Garry oak, Quercus garryana, leaf in front of the sun the 2017 August 21 89% eclipse in the south-western corner of Ruckle Provincial Park, east of Grandma Bay, down the road from KEXMIN field station on Salt Spring Island * photograph by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram


email: studio[the at symbol]  |  gordon_brent_ingram1966[the at symbol]

blossoms of Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca, the most important Salish fruit tree, in a grove with a long history of harvesting and stewardship and now vulnerable to sea level rise, just above the tide-line at the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2017 May 6 * photograph taken jointly by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station,

Spanning an arc from ecological to urban environmental design  to public and other kinds of site-based art, I engage in a kind of decolonial ‘environmental planning’ rooted in renewed dialogue around social and environmental injustice through new conversations between disparate social groups.

My strategies centre on learning from both traditional indigenous knowledge and empirical science, combining craft and design techniques with collaborative and community-based art practices, and participating in the making of culture that challenges neocolonial and neoliberal notions of public space and lands  — in the context of increasingly queer ecologies.

These days, much of this work passes through KEXMIN field station on the edge of Saanich territory, a Salish community in which I grew up and continue to be based, conduct much of my field research, make designs, photographs, and videos, cultivate traditional food plants, write, teach, and make home. 

vitae: Gordon Brent BROCHU-INGRAM curriculum vitae – July 2017

These scarlet emperor runner beans, Phaseolus coccineus, evolved in cool mountain conditions in Central America and are increasingly grown in Vancouver and other parts of the South Coast of British Columbia (including in containers on roof tops). On this green roof on Vancouver Harbour, stalks grew to over 3 meters in height and produced copious dried beans that were superb for soup. The seeds were plant in the first week in May and the stalks were producing beans until late November. In warmers parts of the South Coast and further south in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, the stalks can survive a winter and become perennial.

expertise | activism | leadership

My work centres on development, evaluation and teaching (including research supervision) of innovative environmental planning and design methods extending to contemporary visual culture including,

· networks of open space and protected areas, especially on islands with forest, initiated by indigenous communities and governments and related joint management,

· conception, development, and curation of related public, environmental, and site-based art along with photographic document,

· planning and design of cultural infrastructure especially networks of public art in public space often involving indigenous communities,

· biodiversity conservation and related site planning and environmental horticulture,

· urban sustainability strategies and practices and policy for those transitions especially involving indigenous community and ecological restoration, and

· critical social and governance theory for open space as part of environmental planning and design.


My technical expertise is in the following fields:

regional ecosystem recovery strategies and intergovernmental frameworks especially involving indigenous governments;

living material in environmental and site-specific art works and related ‘landart’;

collaborative art practices as part of community development often with a focus on indigenous communities;

environmental and social impact assessment;

site planning and related environmental horticulture;

stakeholder analysis especially for historically marginalized demographics such as indigenous communities, women, and cultural and sexual minorities;

knowledge and priorities of indigenous communities in land use decision-making;

social and institutional factors in design of public space and related use studies and public consultation;

sexual minorities, public space and neighbourhoods;

sustainability strategies and cultural infrastructure;

best practices and guidelines for sustainability especially certification processes such as LEED and Sustainable Sites and environmental horticulture and agricultural practices;

remote sensing, GIS, and decision for support environmental assessment, planning and design;

international instruments of environmental policy including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the World Heritage Convention,and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;

conservation of heritage landscapes and neighbourhoods;

cultural infrastructure as part of community development and public art and site-based art as part of urban design;

photographic documentation of communities, environmental concerns and design issues;

§ integration of site-based art into public space and broader landscapes; and

§ related social and cultural theory extending to art and design criticism.

I am currently studying and engaging in participatory methods and ‘mediation’ in the making of contemporary visual culture as part of deeper engagement with and development of communities.

#6 Utopiana mosaic 6 castle&ingram



  • interventions, spanning performance to public art to urban design and landscape architecture, in public space and related ecosystems
  • configurations of photographic imagery, drawings, and text in both books and other publications and in larger forms in exhibition spaces and installations
  • videos especially heavily edited clips and loops, from old cellphones, installed indoors and outdoors
  • black and white and colour designs and plans for sites and related installations
  • site renderings involving drawings and photographs
  • published articles and books often combining text, photographs, drawings and plans


concerns & practices

  • public art combined with ecological restoration often referencing environmental and cultural histories and the tensions between indigenous, colonial and postcolonial spaces with a focus on the West Coast of Canada
  • Canadian indigenous movements of contemporary site-based and public art with a particular focus on my own heritage, Métis with deep family roots in north-western Canada, and the Coast Salish communities in which I mainly grew up on the south coast of British Columbia
  • photographic and video documentation, renderings, and associated text-based essays of communities, ecosystems, and urban and landscape histories with a thirty year focus on tensions between indigenous, colonial and post-colonial cultural landscapes particularly in British Columbia
  • contemporary multimedia treatments of indigenous traditional knowledge, colonial history and contemporary cultural fusions as played out across communities through networks of public art combining video, photo-based documentation, more subjective photography, drawings, maps, text and live presentations (often rifting on participatory approaches to community development)
  • research on and design responses to gender and sexual politics, decolonial, indigenous, multicultural experiences, and social conflicts in public space represented through photographs, drawing, plans, and digital mapping
  • research methods on the aesthetic dimensions of community histories, cultural landscapes and ecosystems, and related questions of food, crops, species, and cultural aspects of botany and landscapes
  • development and use of archives (increasingly linked through on-line postings and sites) as part of artistic practices and production
  • imaginary and unsolicited designs of networks of open space and associated urban design and public art often employing video, montage, geographic information systems, satellite imagery, visualization and reworking current and discarded digital technologies
  • curating and related research for exhibitions, books, and on-line examinations of communities, ecosystems, and urban and landscape histories

awards & distinctions

garden workers, Tchintoulous, November 1985 from the 1991 photoessay, Gardens of Despair: Tuareg responses to desertification, Aïr Mountains, Niger / Jardins De Désespoir: Réaction des Tuaregs devant l’expansion du désert, montagne de l’Aïr, Niger, Royal Institute of British Architects Gallery, London, 16 inch x 20 inch black and white photograph by Gordon Brent Ingram

·Lambda Literary Foundation Award for Best Lesbian and Gay Nonfiction Anthology (with Anne-Marie Bouthillette and Yolanda Retter): 1998.

·Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Arts: 1998.

·Canada Council Grants: 1981, 1994, 1995 – 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004.

·Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship (Bahasa Indonesia), United States Department of State: 1987 – 1988.

·University of California Regents Fellowships: 1981 – 1983.

·British Columbia Cultural Fund Scholarships: 1978 – 1979, 1979 – 1980, 1981 – 1982.

The Canada Council for the Arts is the main government funding agency for the arts in the country. ‘Grants’ are considered awards and are determined through changing juries of peers. As well as receiving 7 Canada Council grants in 20 years, I have participated in two juries for individual and exhibition proposals for architecture, landscape architecture and urban design.

field research on regional ecosystems

·Pakistan: 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007.

·United Arab Emirates & Oman: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007.

·Bangladesh: 2000.

·Brunei & Philippines: 1994.

·China: 1991, 1993.

·Sahel of West Africa: Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso & Cameroon 1984 to 1986.

·Yemen 1984.

·Indonesia 1982, 1986, 1987 to 1991.

·California 1978 to 1983, 1998.

·British Columbia 1974 to 1982, 1989 to present.

field research on cultural landscapes

Pavilion, Hiran Minar, Sheikupura, Pakistan, January 2004

photography by Gordon Brent Ingram

·Urbanization (of Dubai and Abu Dhabi) and the more traditional cultural landscapes of the northern United Arab Emirates and Oman 2003 to present.

·Historic and contemporary open space in Pakistan and India with an emphasis on the Salt Range of the northern Punjab and relict gardens from the Moghul period, 2000, 2001, 2004.

·Aboriginal cultural landscapes of the British Columbia coast with a focus on Garry oak ecosystems and sites such as Mount Maxwell, Salt Spring Island and Haida Gwaii on the North Coast, 1974 to present (with work on Mount Maxwell beginning in 1978).

·Green roofs especially in western parts of North America, 1999 to present.

·New and historic open space and urban design projects in the Netherlands and in Venice, 1999.

·Archived designs and files of San Francisco-based landscape architect Thomas Dolliver Church (with some field work), 1998.

·Public art of Helen and Newton Meyer Harrison, particularly the work, California Wash, Santa Monica, 1997.

·Strategic public spaces of sexual minorities, 1980 to 1982, 1993 to present.

·China particularly palace and Buddhist temple architecture in the mountains of the subtropical south 1991, 1993.

·Islamic gardens of southern Spain 1992.

·Java, Indonesia particularly public garden, water palaces, and reconstructed Hindu shivite temples 1988 to 1991.

·Orchards and field gene banks of France 1986.

·West African garden vernacular and responses to desertification 1984, 1985, 1986.

·Italian open space, piazzas, and gardens 1983 to 1987, 1990, 1994, 1995.

·Environmental schoolyards in California 1981 and 1982.

professional & advisory appointments

Mt. Maxwell dry summer scene 8 1993

Mount Maxwell Ecological Reserve, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia,

August 1993, photograph by Gordon Brent Ingram

Associate Dean for Environmental Projects and Sustainability and Associate Professor in Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia  2006 to 2008, with responsibilities including:

oco-facilitating of and providing administrative support for the campus-wide task on policy development for sustainability;

odevelopment of the university’s program for a nation-wide environmental monitoring program, NEON, including developing a program and site plan for a nature reserve on the Fairfax campus;

ocoordination of proposals for the development of a research and teaching facility on estuarine ecosystems at Belmont Bay, Virginia;

oparticipation in the university’s Middle East Research Group; and

oteaching in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy with the following graduate course developed and taught:

Ecological Design for Sustainable Communities;

Biodiversity Conservation, Local Communities and Sustainable Development;

Environmental Issues for the Twenty-First Century; and

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for Biodiversity Conservation (including development of an associated research laboratory for geomatics for biodiversity conservation).

Associate Dean for Campus Development, Ras Al Khaimah (United Arab Emirates) and Associate Professor in Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 2005 to early 2006, with responsibilities including:

opolicy development for its first international campus in the Middle East;

ocoordinating academics and curriculum transfer and development George Mason University’s Middle East campus including being Executive Secretary for the Working Group on Academic Programs at George Mason University with proposals for undergraduate, graduate and professional offerings in business, nursing, biology, electronic and computer engineering, environmental science and policy, geosciences and geomatics, fine arts, and education, and Arabic language, Islamic and Middle East Area studies;

ocampus planning extending to environmental planning and design and related issues of sustainability and access;

omonitoring, implementation and partial supervision of faculty hiring, facilities development including laboratories, academic programs such as advising and instructor evaluations, university life and equity programs;

oserving on the university’s Senior Management Committee;

oteaching in the Virginia-based, Department of Environmental Science and Policy with the following graduate course developed and taught:

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for Biodiversity Conservation and

Ecological Design for Sustainable Communities; and

oco-development and coordination of a campus-wide seminar for 2006 & 2007, ‘Going Global: The ethics and politics of a George Mason University campus in the Middle East’.

Senior Urban Planner and Visiting Associate Professor, 2003 & 2004 with ongoing involvement, Institute of Urban and Regional Planning and Design, College of Architecture and Design, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates developing and teaching two graduate courses:

  • Planning Theory and Methods and
  • Land Use Planning Principles and Practice

along with advising on aspects of environmental management, sustainability and social policy in the development of this major new centre for sustainability for the Middle East. An additional responsibility was to review budgetary and development needs along with research into potential funding sources.

Environmental Planner, 2001 to present, based in Vancouver working in side stream environmental design focused on the following projects:

·co-founder GOERT (Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team) 1999 to 2002, founding co-chair of its Conservation Planning & Site Protection Recovery Action Group. This work has been for the remaining habitats of the relatively dry, south-facing sites in the extreme south-west of Canada – in which I was born and raised. Because of growing pressures for urbanisation and the desirability of these sunny sites for development of affluent housing, there are now over 100 endangered species. There are a growing number of conflicts around threatened habitats, housing, and management of domestic gardens, city parks and remaining neighbourhood open space. My work has been to be the lead, in this federal / provincial / local government / nongovernmental task force, on spatial planning and development of conservation priorities combined with site planning and residential design guidelines;

·development of what was intended to be a five year project with a set of field-oriented courses as part of capacity-building in forest biodiversity conservation in Pakistan, linked to poverty alleviation, in cooperation with the Pakistan Forest Institute and WWF-Pakistan, Peshawar with development of a large report through research, field work, interviews, analysis of educational faculty and resources, budgetary analysis of educational institutions, and formulation of recommendations;

·survey and assessment of Moghal gardens and historic landscapes and neighbourhoods in the Punjab of Pakistan;

·completion of book manuscripts:

  • “Tradeoffs in Biodiversity Conservation” and
  • “At The Edge Of A Great Forest”; and

·projects on ecosystem management and restoration of private lands.

Senior Lecturer, 2001 & 2002, Restoration of Natural Systems Program, School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada, developing and teaching the course,

·Environmental Restoration 331: Urban Ecosystem Restoration

·with subsequent supervision of research on management and restoration of aboriginal food production landscapes in Garry oak ecosystems

Associate Professor, Universitair Hoofddocent with permanent contract, 1999 to 2001, International Institute for Aerospace Survey & Earth Sciences (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands. As an environmental planner second in charge of a Division, my responsibilities focused on forest conservation as part of community development for students from developing countries on scholarship. The work took place in The Netherlands, Canada, China, Bangladesh, and Pakistan with the main responsibilities being development of postgraduate-level courses, supervision of research in remote areas, review of scientific literature and development of lectures and audiovisual presentations, management of budgets and personnel, analysis and writing reports, development of policy recommendations, building research networks, and organization of scientific meetings.

courses called “modules”

·Forest Degradation & Rehabilitation (2000)

·Research Preparedness (for M.Sc. thesis research) (2000)

·Forest Biodiversity Assessment & Conservation (2000)

regular lectures

·“Local biodiversity: Shifting biogeographies at the landscape level” & “Endemism, invasions & island biogeography” (for Biodiversity mapping & modelling)

·“Tradeoffs analysis in biodiversity conservation” (for Modelling land use alternatives)

working groups

·Conflict resolution

·Forest conservation and restoration (in early phase of formation)


·China, subtropical Yunnan province, 2000: forest biodiversity conservation geographic information systems linked to land use planning

·Bangladesh, Sundarban mangroves near the Bay of Bengal, 2000: remote sensing to detect forest loss and degradation linked to more site-specific management

·Pakistan, remaining dry forest, Salt Range in northern Punjab province, 2000: conservation planning for a national park comprising of larger fragments of forest based on satellite imagery, field work and assessment of local communities

Administrative Analyst (second in charge of the Department), 1998, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning – assisting the interim Chair, Peter Walker, in curriculum development for revised and expanded graduate and graduate programmes including

·working through a range of levels of department administration;

·reviewing and correcting unresolved personnel and budgetary problems (and conflicts);

·expansion of the archives of the Department and College of Environmental Design as part of increased research including supervision of the Thomas Dolliver Church Collection;

·development and coordination of an expanded lecture series; and

·teaching a seminar for graduate students in contemporary theoretical debates in landscape architecture and environmental planning.

Environmental Planner, 1994 to 1997, as consultant working in side stream environmental design for development and management of a wide range of projects involving ecological design, research, and policy. The focus was on design and planning of networks of parks and open space — and related conservation of habitat, visual, and heritage resources — along with assertion of criteria for ecological design and more socially viable public space as well as more public art. Projects mainly in British Columbia with some missions in New York City, Rome, and Brunei / Philippines.


Polling Agent in 1997 Federal Canadian election supervising polling station and counting of ballots for a high-density block in the Yaletown neighbourhood of Vancouver.

Parenting, 1994 – 1996 and part-time projects, often home-based, while caring for my baby daughter.

Assistant Professor, 1989 – 1994, The University of British Columbia, Landscape Architecture Program and Department of Forest Resources Management. The responsibilities included development and teaching of 6 undergraduate and graduate courses, supervision of students and other researchers including field work in remote areas, development and management of interdisciplinary teams (including in a computer laboratory for environmental management), building research networks, organization of scientific and other scholarly meetings, development of policy recommendations, obtaining funding for and managing innovative research projects on environmental planning and management, report writing, and photographic documentation.


·Wildland Recreation Site Planning (undergraduate)

·Open Space Planning (undergraduate)

·Visual Resources Management (undergraduate)

·Environmental Analysis for Site Planning (graduate)

·Landscape Ecology and Management (graduate)

·Seminars in landscape photographic documentation, environmental art, environmental planning theory (undergraduate)

·Forest and Land Use History (theory and methods of environmental, forest land use, and conservation planning; applied landscape ecology) (graduate)

development and management of field projects in



·the Sahel of Africa


·Coordinator for the Landscape Ecology Geographic Information Systems Laboratory. 1990 to 1994. PDF copy of 1991 progress report available: ingrams-landscape-ecology-gis-lab-at-ubc-2-1991-progress-report

·Member of committee on social aspects of Forestry, Department of Forest Resources Management, 1989 and 1990.

·Principal organizer of Faculty of Forestry-sponsored symposium, “Landscape approaches to landscape and ecosystem management”, UBC, May 1990.

·Member of the Faculty of Agriculture Committee on an Environmental Studies Degree Programme, early 1991.

·Research Associate, Centre for Southeast Asian Research, University of British Columbia, 1991 to 1994.

·Coordinator of international exchanges, Landscape Architecture Program, UBC. 1992 and 1993.

·Member of the UBC Faculty Association Ad Hoc Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues and Member of the UBC Lesbian and Gay Studies Group, 1991 to 1994.

The position did not become permanent and the lab and courses were largely phased out by 1994-95.

Lecturer, 1989, Environmental Studies Board, University of California at Santa Cruz.

undergraduate courses

·The Idea of Planning

·Environmental Assessment

Environmental Planner, 1988 – 1989, with research projects, related to dissertation research, for WWF-Australia and University of California on forest conservation planning for small islands in the Pacific Rim.

Research Associate, 1988, Environment and Policy Institute, East-West Center, Honolulu in the Workshop on Biological Diversity and National Parks, 1987 & in the Workshop on Social Forestry in the Pacific Rim.

Environmental Planner / Ecologist, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) based in Rome with numerous missions in Europe, the Sahel countries of west Africa, Yemen and Indonesia, with the principal responsibilities being field research in remote areas often in difficult conditions with civil instability, development and management of interdisciplinary teams, building research networks and related diplomacy, organization of scientific meetings, development of policy recommendations, analysis and report compilation, development of training and orientation sessions for field researchers and national counterparts, and photographic documentation focused on the following projects:

·development and management field studies with ecogeographical surveying for wild relatives of crops along with species with fibre, forage and medicinal genetic resources with numerous missions;

·policy analysis (partially based on scientific reviews) for further development of programs of protected areas and other forms of in situ conservation for wild plant genetic resources (sometimes involving park status);

·policy analysis (partially based on scientific reviews) of theory and status of management of traditional agricultural landscapes (often involving park status);

·development of data base and geographic information systems protocols;

·member of the Ad hoc Committee on the In situ Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources of the Ecosystem Conservation Group of the UN technical organizations with IUCN and the CGIAR (1984 to 1986) with meetings in Rome, Paris and Geneva with liaison meetings in Washington and London. Participation was through the Food and Agriculture Organization with research funding from the CGIAR; and

·liaising with other United Nations agencies particularly UNESCO & UN Environment Programme, World Conservation Monitoring Centre, The World Conservation Union (IUCN), WWF, and the US Department of Agriculture.

Reserve Designer / Environmental Planner, The Nature Conservancy, California Field Office, 1983, for the following endangered plants and habitats:

·Engelman oak, Quercus Engelmanii, woodland, vernal pools, riparian forest, and over ten endangered species in the Santa Rosa Mountains of the Santa Rosa Mountains;

·palm oasis, Washingtonia filifera, ecosystems and several endangered desert species including the endangered lizard, Uma inornata, in the Coachella Valley; and

·the habitats of over ten endangered plant species including the few remaining natural groves of Monterey pine, Pinus radiata

·with responsibilities including

·review of scientific and legal material on these species and ecosystems;

·assessment of economic context and development pressures;

·development of strategies for combining conservation with economic development; and

·development of advisory reports with maps on key issues and sites along with conservation planning concepts related to often expensive parcels of land.

Teaching Assistant, 1982, University of California, Berkeley.


Ecological Analysis in Landscape Design.

Adjunct faculty, 1981 and 1982, Ecosystems Management Program, Antioch College (San Francisco campus)


·Ecosystem Assessment (graduate)

·Wildland Preservation and Management (undergraduate)

·Environmental Impact Analysis (graduate)

·Habitat Protection and Restoration (undergraduate)

·Environmental Systems Design and Management (graduate)

·Environmental Photographic Documentation (undergraduate)

·Undergraduate and graduate advising including supervision of study plans, supervision bachelor degree projects, and M.A. and M.Sc. theses.

Land Use Planner / Habitat Protection Biologist on contract to the Ecological Reserves Unit, Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing, Province of British Columbia, 1979 – 1980, with the following responsibilities:

·reviewing and assessing the terms of the 1971 provincial Ecological Reserves Act,

·field surveys of a number of hastily established ecological reserves;

·assessment of initial biological diversity and landscape conservation goals in the design and formalisation of the protected area boundaries – including designs that were causing management problems;

·analysis of condition of ecosystems and species with some initial mapping;

·development and proposing of first longer-term protection, management and restoration goals for those ecological reserves; and

·outlining the management needs to support those goals.

Habitat Protection Biologist, Old-Growth Forest Protection Project, Inventory Branch, Ministry of Forests, Province of British Columbia, Victoria, 1978 – 1979 with responsibilities in

·conducting the first comprehensive review of Ministry responsibilities for conserving old-growth forest for wildlife particularly ungulates, Grizzly bear and salmonid fisheries;

·reviewing the forest cover maps and annual allowable cut calculations for the Public Sustained Yield Units (PSYUs) of the BC coast and southern interior;

·developing forest cover maps and marked aerial photographs based on field work in remote parts of the British Columbia coast; and

·development of first assessment of old-growth preservation areas for these management units.

Teaching Assistant, Britannia Secondary School, Vancouver, 1977 – 1978 with responsibilities in

·supervising young adolescents with learning and emotional disabilities in basic course work often organized as special needs tutorials and

·supervision of physical education requirements that often were combined with walking field trips related to environmental education.

Executive Secretary, Services and Activities Board, 1975 – 1976, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington. This was roughly equivalent to student body president and responsibility for administering an annual budget of over US$400,000 and included the following responsibilities:

·providing administrative services to the appointed student board that made funding decisions around student services moneys from services, recreation to cultural and environmental programmes;

·assessment of needs and priorities of student body with information provided to board members; and

·communication of budgetary decisions to a wide range of offices and organizations.

Habitat Protection Technician, 1974, Fish and Wildlife Branch, Department of Recreation and Conservation, Government of British Columbia on first government study on wildlife requirements for old-growth Coastal Hemlock forest and the impacts of clearcut logging, Skidegate Plateau on Haida Gwaay (Queen Charlotte Islands).

Nearly lost: Four bus-shelter posters re-introducing Vancouver’s Salish fruit trees


Nearly lost: Four bus-shelter posters re-introducing Vancouver’s Salish fruit trees

client / host 
City of Vancouver Public Art Program

initial posters in the ongoing ‘Nearly Lost’ project

4 different posters installed in 20 bus shelters with the poster dimension 47.25 inches x 68.25 inches.

October 10 to November 7, 2016 (with locations attached)

castle grünenfelder ingram (Julian Castle, Alex Grünenfelder, and Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram with this project involving conceptualization by all three artists, research, photographing, and initial design conceptualization by Grünenfelder and Brochu-Ingram, text by Brochu-Ingram, and final designs and electronic conveyance by Grünenfelder)

castle grünenfelder ingram is a collective of three working on the cusp of public art, urban design, sustainability transitions, and intercultural conversations especially around First Nations legacies in public space and local territories. Only working together for two years, our individual work in Vancouver goes back decades along with other projects and installations in Kamloops, New York, London UK, Seoul, Geneva, and Prince George.

As one of our projects, we coordinate KEXMIN field station, on Salt Spring Island, as a centre for research and learning spanning traditional indigenous knowledge and contemporary science for environmental planning, ecological design, public art and other forms of contemporary cultural production with a focus on the Salish Sea and its Gulf and San Juan Islands between the mainland of the North American West Coast and Vancouver Island.


text from project proposal

Nearly lost: Re-introducing images of Vancouver’s native fruit trees

We propose large 2D imagery especially at bus stops, with video loop installations also possible for the video screens, of fruit and blossoms of several of the native fruit trees that have existed and continue to survive in the City of Vancouver — and that are of continued interest for First Native use, stewardship, and cultivation. Low resolution photographs would be enlarged, slightly saturated, and ‘montaged’ with educational text in English, Halkomelem (Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh), Swxwú7mesh snichim (Squamish) along with other widely spoken languages, and botanical Latin. For the 2015-2016, we would be able focus on making a number of montage posters celebrating two of the most common native fruit trees and more extensive Salish orchards, Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca, and chokecherry, Prunus virginiana ssp. demissa. Both of this crabapple species and this subspecies of chokecherry are limited to coastal ecosystems in BC, Alaska, and Washington State.


text on posters
Four different posters were installed with large type of,

1. lhexwlhéxw | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana

2. t’elemay (with two vertical accents over ‘m’ and ‘y’ and an acute accent over the ‘a’) | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana

3. kwu7úpay (with the ‘k’ underlined and a vertical accent over the ‘y’) | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca

4. qwa’upulhp | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca

Along with the following headings is the following text for respective poster:

1. lhexwlhéxw | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana

One of the Salish names for chokecherry is lhexwlhéxw in the Downriver dialect of Halkomelem language.

2. t’elemay (with two vertical accents over ‘m’ and ‘y’ and an acute accent over the ‘a’) | chokecherry | Prunus virginiana

One of the Salish names for chokecherry is t’elemay (with two vertical accents over ‘m’ and ‘y’ and an acute accent over the ‘a’) in the Swxwú7mesh snichim language.

3. kwu7úpay (with the ‘k’ underlined and with a vertical accent over the ‘y’) | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca

One of the Salish names for Pacific crabapple is kwu7úpay (with the ‘k’ underlined and a vertical accent over the ‘y’) in the Swxwú7mesh snichim language.

4. qwa’upulhp | Pacific crabapple | Malus fusca

One of the Salish names for Pacific crabapple is qwa’upulhp in the Downriver dialect of Halkomelem language.


For the two posters on chokecherry, there is the following text: Chokecherry has been a major source of fruit and medicinal bark for indigenous bark for indigenous peoples on the West Cost. Trees continue to be owned, stewarded and harvested by families of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth First Nations within today’s City of Vancouver.

For the two posters on Pacific crabapple, there is the following text: Pacific crabapple has been a major source of fruit and medicinal bark for indigenous bark for indigenous peoples on the West Cost. Trees continue to be owned, stewarded and harvested by families of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth First Nations within today’s City of Vancouver. For the two posters on chokecherry, there is the following text: Chokecherry has been a major source of fruit and medicinal bark for indigenous bark for indigenous peoples on the West Cost. Trees continue to be owned, stewarded and harvested by families of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth First Nations within today’s City of Vancouver. For the two posters on Pacific crabapple, there is the following text: Pacific crabapple has been a major source of fruit and medicinal bark for indigenous bark for indigenous peoples on the West Cost. Trees continue to be owned, stewarded and harvested by families of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth First Nations within today’s City of Vancouver.

All four posters have the following text: This species is being studied at KEXMIN field station, a centre for conversations spanning traditional indigenous knowledge, modern science, and contemporary art — a project of castle grünenfelder ingram (Julian Castle, Alex Grünenfelder and Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram). The following text was provided by the City of Vancouver: Commissioned as part of the series Coastal City for the 25th Anniversary of the City of Vancouver Public Art Program


Inkjet printer on paper photographing
The photographs in the attached images of the posters were photographed jointly by Alex Grünenfelder and Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram. All of the photographs of the posters installed in the bus shelters were taken by by Alex Grünenfelder.

fabricators / suppliers
OUTFRONT MEDIA Decaux in cooperation with
the printer, LinxPrint, as service-providers to the City of Vancouver


KEXMIN field station: Ongoing Salt Spring Island field research & development of new field courses in landscape ecology

Salt Spring Island mosaic 2014

The work of KEXMIN field station centres on fostering new kinds of conversations spanning traditional Salish knowledge, modern environmental science, and contemporary culture in the hopes of driving new policy, design approaches, and public art. And central to much of this work is a renewed empiricism around ecosystems, species (especially species at risk), indigenous legacies in the landscape (including archaeological sites and contemporary stewardship, harvesting, and leadership protocols) and sea / landscape processes (‘landscape ecology’) in the context of global change especially related to climate and pollution.

Salt Spring Islands, one of the larger of the land masses of the continental archipelago spanning the San Juan and Gulf Islands, is on the northern margins of Oregonia: relatively high latitude, summer-drought often fire-dependent ecosystems under maritime climatic influences that include the erratic ‘Pacific High’. Like the Saanich Peninsula directly to the south, Salt Spring appears to have been colonized by hundreds of Californian in the warm period roughly 4,000 and 5,000 years after the retreat of the ice of the last glacial period. As the decades progress and more field research is conducted, and so far this work has only been in the cursory stages, scores more rare, disjunct, and ‘at risk’ species are being confirmed on Salt Spring. Within the suburbanizing, northern margins of these ecosystems, Salt Spring is a relative refuge for hundreds of species, often associated more with lower latitudes in Oregon and California, with a range of relatively remote land areas and some strategic protected areas. This is much more to learn from these relatively diverse, island ecosystems and shifting landscapes.

I began field work on Salt Spring Island, just eight miles north of where I grew up, in 1979, conducted field research for my MSc thesis in Ecosystem Management, postdoctoral studies through The University of British Columbia, and started teaching field courses in landscape ecology there twenty-five years ago.

So every few years, we find the time for extended field work with this year’s focus on Burgoyne Bay and Mount Maxwell — a biologically rich area, that while largely in protected area status, has seen only cursory biological inventorying and landscape ecology surveying. We hope to continue this field work in coming years as both consulting and teaching and researchers collaborating in the fledgling KEXMIN field station.

As well as renewing baseline work in over ten species at risk, we returned to two indicator species for this complex mosaic of fire-dependent ecosystems spanning shore bluffs, grassland, Garry oak savannah and woodland, and old-growth Douglas fir parkland.

castle & ingram 2014 May 8 Camassia leichtlinii re-establishing in Mt Maxwell ER in the 2009 June 12 - 15 wildfire burn area 1 (small)

Camassia leichtlinii re-establishing half way up the south-west face of Mount Maxwell of Salt Spring Island
In recent decades, the two northern species of camas, Camassia leichtlinii and C. quamash, have been disappearing markedly on Salt Spring Island and other Gulf Islands. Fields of camas were harvested and stewarded by Salish women who have been effectively obstructed from their gardens for more than a century. Similarly, controlled burning based on five millennia of Salish knowledge, and often carefully focused on maintaining sites of camas and other nutritious bulbs, has been outlawed. And sheep grazing, that initially involved Salish engaging in more western agriculture, began in the 1850s and continued until 2001 (even in the original boundaries of the Ecological Reserve) along with a large feral population. And spiking, native deer populations, buoyed by the lack of historical predators and hiking, have grazed remaining the tops of blooming camas bulbs before they have been able to produce seed.

castle & ingram 2014 May 8 Camassia leichtlinii re-establishing in Mt Maxwell ER in the 2009 June 12 - 15 wildfire burn area 2(small)

In this area of Mount Maxwell, where the original Ecological Reserve was established in the early 1970s, Cowichan food gatherers were active and burning until the 1930s. Since then, the Garry oak savannah, the original Salish fields, have grown in to woodland and Douglas fir forest. And in 1980-81, I proposed re-establishment of some controlled burning in this area in a report to the Ecological Reserves Unit of the Province of British Columbia (as part of my M.Sc. thesis in Ecosystem Management).

castle & ingram 2014 May 8 Camassia leichtlinii re-establishing in Mt Maxwell ER in the 2009 June 12 - 15 wildfire burn area 1 (small)

As as the decades have passed, the population of flowering camas on Salt Spring Island have plummeted. Curiously, one of the few signs of any increase in camas populations and ANY reproduction has been seen in the area burned in the June 12 – 15, 2009. What is unclear, after this May 8, 2014 site report, is whether or not there has been an increase in camas throughout the burned areas or just those that saw the application (or more likely lack of application) of fire retardant. Another question is whether or not the seed that was maturing ever became viable or was browsed before.

#1 Pacific dogwood in a rainstorm 2014 May 8 Mt Maxwell Salt Spring Island - castle & ingram #05 (small)

Pacific dogwood, Cornus nuttallii, half-way up the south-west face of Mount Maxwell, Salt Spring Island

At the northern margins of its range, Pacific dogwood, Cornus nuttallii, is a particularly beautiful, and increasingly rare, flowering tree. On the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, ‘dogwood’ is largely confined to the edges of underground streams with year-round moisture but rarely truly riparian. On the south-west face of Mount Maxwell on Salt Spring Island, relatively dry and with soil ph levels relatively higher and less acidic, there is a ‘draw’ that drains a glorious swamp near the top of the mountain (on the summit road about 1 kilometers before the parking lot) and quickly becomes a stream emptying into Burgoyne Bay (about 2 kilometers north along the shore from the Burgoyne public wharf). In 2011, the parcel with lower part of this seasonal stream was finally acquired for protection by Nature Trust and in 2014 was quite drinkable. And going up the stream through the oak meadows this ‘draw’ continues to be full of ‘dogwood’.

#2 Pacific dogwood in a rainstorm 2014 May 8 Mt Maxwell Salt Spring Island - castle & ingram #03(small)

I have been photographing this particular grove of dogwoods, half way up Mount Maxwell, for thirty-five years now. There has been no sign, so far, of the introduced Dogwood anthracnose (dogwood leaf blotch) blights from the introduced fungus Discula destructiva. When finding these trees again, in a violent rainstorm on the 14th of May, 2014, all we had to make photographs were un-smart cellular telephones. But these were the same trees that I photographed decades before with medium-format Rolleiflex and Pentax cameras.

#3 Pacific dogwood in a rainstorm 2014 May 8 Mt Maxwell Salt Spring Island - castle & ingram #01(small)

These photographs were taken in collaboration with Julian Castle. We jointly made these exposures and montages as ‘castle & ingram’.

#4 Pacific dogwood in a rainstorm 2014 May 14 Mt Maxwell Salt Spring Island - castle & ingram #07 (small)

The Tree Question: Field research & cultivation practices in community-based public art in an age of ecological crises


title of The Tree Question

Gordon Brent BROCHU-INGRAM, KEXMIN field station, Salt Spring Island, Canada

PowerPoint presentation: 2016 April 25 Brochu-Ingram TransHEAD ‘The Tree Question’ PowerPoint

abstract: 2016 April 25 Brochu-Ingram TransHEAD ‘tree’ presentation

bilingual notes: (trad) 2016 April 25 Brochu-Ingram TransHEAD ‘tree’ presentation

2016 April presentation Geneva University of Art & Design

Trans – Mediation, Education, * Haute École d’art et de design Genève HEAD


The Tree Question:

Field research & cultivation practices in

community-based public art in an age of ecological crises



Since the pioneering 1982 intervention by Joseph Beuys, the 7000 Eichen – Stadtverwaldung statt Stadtverwaltung) / 7000 Oaks – City Forestation Instead of City Administration, tree planting, and cultivation more generally, have increasingly become contemporary art practice. Employment of such cultivation interventions, as contemporary art and not as landscape architecture, have nearly always used as a way to challenge particular notions and demarcations of the ‘public’, on one hand, and experiences of communities, landscapes and ecosystems, on the other hand. Such a set of oppositional tactics often contrasts itself with professionalized landscape architecture more often employed to re-enforce the status quo of public space. And since documenta 7, a raft of experimental artists have rifted on notions of agriculture (and silviculture, horticulture, and permaculture) as visual culture most notably Alan Sonfist (et al 2014, Landi 2011), Ron Benner (2008), the Fallen Fruit collective (Goodyear 2012), and Sam Van Aken (Brooks 2014). But precisely how ‘contemporary’ are such tree planting ‘works’ and how are associated practices and conceptualizations changing as ecological crises intensify, as cultural signifiers shift, as access to scientific information increases, and as data sources and ecological and social paradigms diversify? And how do these Western and often Eurocentric aesthetic movements, involving trees and urban space, construct relationships with recoveries and practices of indigenous communities often at odds with modernity?


One point of inquiry is provided by Claire Bishop’s 2012 note that, “Beuys drew a conceptual line between his output as a sculptor and his discursive / pedagogic work” (page 245), the latter including his tree planting. But if cultivation is more of a conceptual disruptor and teaching opportunity than part of artistic production to produce an art work, why does the aesthetic importance of trees for interventions in public space continue to increase? A more problematic and indefinite set of questions derive from the divergent and shifting uses of tree planting in contemporary culture. For example, there is no sign that the 1982 intervention in Kassel was intended to contribute to carbon sequestration or to conserve local habitat and species, or to build community through sharing fruit as in the recent tree planting work in Los Angeles of Fallen Fruit. Today, it would be difficult to plant a tree, as a contemporary art work, without professed relationships to countering climate change, gentrification, and homelessness and contributing to carbon sequestration, food security, and social equity. So like painting, drawing, and sculpture, the basic ‘materials’ of tree planting, however organic, are infinitely pliable — as long as respective organisms and ecosystems can survive and be part of public space. There is an implicit aesthetic of survival.


What are the diverse roles of science in these forms of artistic research? In particular, how does tree-planting-as-contemporary-art challenge, expand, and re-enforce broader art movements such as,

  1. various forms of community participation as art (embodied in the work of Suzanne Lacey and Martha Rosler),
  2. scientific experimentation as in ‘wetware’ and biological modification,
  3. traditional knowledge and other indigenous experiences,
  4. relational aesthetics as new forms of education and community aesthetic engagement, and
  5. micro-urban tactics that transform multiple publics?

Or do the heightened skills and artifice required to sufficiently manipulate a site in deteriorating environments, to insure that trees will thrive, represent another kind of cultivation of culture that signals a new and more tenuous phase of the “Anthropocene” (Wark 2015)? In other words, are the creative perspectives and practices of contemporary artists, particularly collaboratives and collectives, increasingly necessary to keep communities, ecosystems, and public spaces ‘alive’, diverse, and evolving?


Brochu-Ingram presents some early results from some of his ongoing investigations, designs, and interventions in the Vancouver and Geneva regions.



Benner, Ron. 2008. Gardens of a Colonial Present / Jardins d’un Present Colonial. London, Ontario: London Museum.

Beuys, Joseph. 1982. 7000 Eichen – Stadtverwaldung statt Stadtverwaltung) / 7000 Oaks – City Forestation Instead of City Administration. Kassel, Hesse: documenta 7.

Bishop, Claire. 2012. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. New York: Verso.

Brooks, Katherine. 2014. This One Tree Grows 40 Different Types Of Fruit, Is Probably From The Future. The Huffington Post (July 24, 2014)

Goodyear, Dana. 2012. Eat A Free Peach: Mapping “Public Fruit.” The New Yorker (March 12, 2012).

Landi, Ann. 2011. Separating the Trees from the Forest: Alan Sonfist has built a career as an urban land artist. ARTnews (Summer 2011) (POSTED 08/15/11 5:58 PM).

Sonfist, Alan, Wolfgang Becker, and Robert Rosenblum. 2004. Nature, The End of Art: Environmental Landscapes. New York: Distributed Art Publishers.

Wark, Mckenzie. 2015. Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene. London: Verso.

Ecological, ethnobotanical & design studies of wild cherry, Prunus virginiana, and wild crabapple, Malus fusca, on the Gulf Islands

0 chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_0557

chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island 2016 August 9 through 12, photographs by Alex Grunenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

chokecherry 2016 August 9 - 11 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0047




crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_0978

Pacific crabapple, qwa’upulhp (in the downriver dialect of Halkomelem), Malus fusca, north of the site of the village of Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2016 August 11 & 12, photographs by Alex Grunenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram


crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_1190small