an excerpt from the article...
Punk music and urban farming might seem like two very separate worlds, but local artist Naoko Wowsugi intends to bring them together for a bold new exhibit that’s opening this weekend.
When Permacounterculture is unveiled at the Hamiltonian on Aug. 13, the art gallery will transform into a punk music venue that doubles as a greenhouse for wheatgrass. The exhibit will create an unconventional ecosystem where live music and sustainable living coincide with one another.
“The exhibition illustrates how we are all connected in diverse ways. I want people to become more aware of their own economy and the small things that connect us all,” said Wowsugi. The exhibit’s name derives from the term ‘permaculture,’ an agricultural system focused on self-sufficiency and community ethics.
Permacounterculture is inspired by Wowsugi’s experiences exploring D.C.’s punk scene and volunteering at City Orchard, an organic fruit orchard in Maryland owned by local non-profit Bread for the City. After attending Damaged City Fest to see a friend’s art exhibit, Wowsugi immersed herself in the city’s music scene and started going to more punk shows around town.
“I was taken aback by the raw, real energy of the D.C. punk scene,” she said.
The concept for Permacounterculture came to light after Wowsugi watched an episode of Mythbusters, where they tested various forms of music and its influence on plant growth. After receiving a grant from the Awesome Foundation to fund her project, Wowsugi along with Hamiltonian Fellowship members Nicole Dowd and Rebekah Pineda began to recruit bands for the exhibit by attending local punk shows together. For additional research, Wowsugi went to the D.C. Public Library‘s Punk Archive to learn more about the city’s musical landscape.
“It came about organically by meeting key people in the D.C. punk scene,” Wowsugi said. “Chris Moore, Kohei Urakami, and Sarah O’Donoghue were key in helping decide the lineup for the shows. I shared the responsibility with people who really know the current punk scene in D.C.”
Permacounterculture will host three punk shows at the Hamiltonian during its run. Wowsugi’s intention is for the wheatgrass in the exhibit to feed off of the showgoers’ carbon dioxide, which will then create more oxygen in the room and keep the good vibes going. Visitors will also get a chance to score some wheatgrass shots.
“Everyone is pushing their social boundaries, and this is a very beautiful thing,” Wowsugi said. “Attendees will come away with a new appreciation for D.C. and get a free wheatgrass shot. Get energized!”
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