MULCH: A Performance Picnic in the System Garden

Ian Potter Museum of Art

Established at the Parkville campus in 1956 by Sir Frederick McCoy, the System Garden is one of Australia’s oldest teaching gardens and, along with being a tranquil retreat for staff and students, is still used today by students of the university’s School of BioSciences – which offers studies in areas including Plant Science, Zoology, Marine Biology and Genetics.

In 2019, performance chemist and curator Lichen Kelp brought together an eclectic range of artists for an afternoon of live art and sonic performance in the University of Melbourne System Garden – an oasis in the heart of the Parkville campus.

David Haines, Loren Kronemyer (Pony Express), Lisa Lerkenfeldt, Tim Coster, Honeyfingers (Nic Dowse), Kelp D and Benjamin Hancock presented a series of site-specific works in conversation with the plants and local ecologies of the Garden. Chemical reactions, improvised movement, experimental electronics, beekeeping, poetry and perfumery all combined in a dynamic program of esoteric and scientific investigation. Tim Uebergang, Horticultural Curator, System Garden gave a tour; Prof Jean-Pierre Scheerlinck provided a beekeeping talk.