Nance Klehm / Social Ecologies
Chicago, IL, Terra Fluxus Publishing, 2021
Pages: 24
Dimensions: 5.5 in X 8.5 in
Cover: Paper
Binding: staple-bound
Process: 4 color RISO
Color: 4 colors throughout
Edition size: unknown
ISBN: none

The latest publication—an excellently-produced RISO booklet—from longtime friend Nance Klehm and her recently created press Terra Fluxus Publishing. Here's more from the publisher:

Ground Truthing is a deep mapping that is focused on land and landscape and in our case, folds in soil science. Our methodology is a bit of urban ecology meets cultural geography involving observations and note-taking, revealing site conditions, surface structures, features and debris, plant and fungal life in the communities they reflect. Wind direction, hydrology, weather, season and climate are noted. Underlying parent material, soil composition and aggregation, soil color and chemistry, and soil biota are studied using collection, examination and testing samples from the A horizon as well as soil coring a meter in depth to look at the others. This inverts the usual preference for reporting on what is easily observable to the unknown. We also spend quite a bit of time poring over and digging into historical records, maps, legal documents, oral histories, photographs and illustrations. 

In this first Ground Truthing we looked at two buildings, built in two different times in two different areas of Chicago and the sites they were built on and the ever changing dynamics of the physical sites and contexts of the sites on which they were built and quite literally the art they stand on. Places are made and unmade. How we construct a place usually has a lot of loose ends to it. The threads are quietly living. Tug at them, loop them around your finger, or tuck them safely back in. In this diptych of paired portraits of place, we hope you will feel the dialogues within and between them and how they can point to choosing any two other places to Ground Truth the placement of a structure, a human housing. 

An institution involved in the Chicago Architecture Biennial originally commissioned this piece. It was to serve as pat of a larger array of investigations and actions, essentially our exhibition's text. The idea was pitched, our process transparent and yet, it appeared unfelt. It was our process of deep mapping, landscape reading and soil science that drew the invitation, but was also the cause of its rejection to being published after it had been read by several sets of eyes, its contents organized into a rough design to be printed.

About Social Ecologies:

Engaging local residents – instigating ecological projects – building regenerative systems. Social Ecologies creates durational projects that aim to build healthy habitat and interaction through direct engagement of place with those who dwell there. Social Ecologies seeks to encourage holistic, systematic thinking through varying levels and degrees of project participation. Projects are typically birthed and supported for several years. Substantial research, learning and dialogue is used to develop and allow for ideas to emerge. Social Ecologies believes embodiment fuels continuing action.

About Nance Klehm:

Nance Klehm has been an ecological systems designer, landscaper, horticultural consultant, and permacultural grower for more than two decades. Her approach is centered on instigating change by activating already existent communities, and her work demonstrates her lifelong commitment to redefining the way human populations coexist with plant and animal systems on this planet.

A consultant, speaker, and teacher, Nance is internationally respected for her work on land politics and soil heath. Her work has received extensive national and international media coverage and mentioned in many books, including Leila Darwish’s Earth Repair and Sandor Katz’s The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved. She won the 2012 Utne Visionary Prize and has been a two-time finalist for the Curry-Stone Design Prize.  In addition, she has lectured broadly in museum and university settings as well as for countless community groups worldwide. Most recently, she was the subject of the independent documentary Weedeater.

She currently splits her time between Little Village, a densely packed, diverse urban neighborhood in the heart of Chicago, and fifty acres of land in the Driftless Region of northwest Illinois, where she cultivates and forages medicinal and edible plants, keeps bees and a fruit orchard, raises chickens and quail, and grows for a seed bank. Her house and land offer daily practice in permaculture and urban living. Nancy’s Social Ecologies organization acts as an umbrella for a variety of ongoing ecological and system-regenerating projects. Her most recent undertaking, Its most recent undertaking, The Ground Rules, is a unique community- and earth-building initiative that gathers organic waste from Chicago businesses and processes it in partnership with neighborhood-based Soil Centers. The Ground Rules offers soil and compost assessments, soil testing, consultations in bioremediation strategies, hands-on workshops in soil health and fertility, and compost system build outs.

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