Fallen Fruit

David Burns, Austin Young, and Matias Viegener are interested in rethinking our relationship to food and public space. By mapping local fruit trees and encouraging our sharing of experiences (and fruit) through group plantings and "forages" they hope to build more "generous" consumers and communities.

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SUSTAINABLE LA, a selection of short films about Angelinos engaged in the green revoluton.

Presented by the Echo Park Film Center
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For upcoming events, please visit the Fallen Fruit website.

Written by Bill Kelley Jr.

The collective called Fallen Fruit is made up of David Burns, Austin Young, and Matias Viegener. All are artists and educators and up until a few years ago none had ever worked with fruit. Yet, as limiting as the specificity of the medium might sound, it isn't given the profound and whimsical attachments they recognize we all have to fruit. The gift of fruit is a sign of bounty and generosity. They refer to streets that have accessible fruit as "generous." And so it makes sense that issues like the history of our Golden State is tied to fruit. It is the earliest of mythical images, before Hollywood, that California was the place where oranges grew plentiful. It was a promise of abundance and of a way of life, which in turn, led to the ritual of planting them in our front and back yards.

Fallen Fruit is not only interested in mapping out fruit trees in your neighborhood, but they're equally amenable to planting and picking them as well. Fruit trees spring from the tricky middle ground between public and private space and that's a good thing, because it's entirely the point.

Burns and Viegener are interested in helping us think about what public space can be. It seems to be a learning process all around as they are as much instigators as participants in their group activities. Possibilities seem to lie in getting lots of people together for Nocturnal Fruit Forages, for example. Picking neighborhood fruit might seem daring but it's a small price to pay for getting to know your neighbors and their fruit trees (evenings are best as most owners are home). This defiant act of picking fruit hanging over into public property seems almost comical when you see the artist's costumes and hard hats.

"You've never been hit with an avocado over the head have you?" It's that kind of practical whimsy that makes the project so much fun. The notion of eating something one just picked off a tree seems to have become a foreign experience sadly, even in California. So part of this project is also about having us connect with the processes and politics of food, how we view food and by extension, how those views construct our habits. By taking the market out of the equation, you see food first hand and somehow manage to get to that communal idea of shared resources and shared experiences.