“In The Treaty of Finsbury Park 2025, we are catapulted several years into the future where all the species of the park have risen up to demand equal rights with humans. After much unrest, it has been agreed that a treaty will be drawn up, designating these rights, but first humans must learn to better relate to and understand non-humans so they can cooperate better together. Thankfully there has been a new invention – The Sentience Dial – which allows humans to tune into all the flora and fauna of Finsbury Park.”
The Treaty of Finsbury Park 2025 is a collaborative project that depicts the story of the dawning of interspecies democracy – a new era of equal rights for all living beings. Where all species come together to organise and shape the environments and cultures they inhabit, in Finsbury Park, urban green spaces across the UK, the world, and beyond. Like many urban parks, Finsbury Park is fraught with environmental issues from noxious gasses and traffic noises to governance struggles and financial sustainability. If colonial systems of dominance and control over living beings continue we all face an apocalypse.
Based around a set of LARPs – or live action role play – games the Treaty of Finsbury Park 2025 is played from more-than-human perspectives to encourage the blooming of a bountiful biodiversity and interspecies political action. Think like a dog, bee or even grass and help change the way we all see and participate in our local urban green spaces forever.
1. The Interspecies Assemblies Game
In the PUBLIC game of ‘Interspecies Assemblies’, human players will be partnered with a mentor representing one of 7 species based in Finsbury Park. These include a tree, a bee, a goose, grass, a squirrel, a stag beetle and a dog. Players will be tuned into the mentor’s needs and experiences and will then represent them at a series of online assemblies being held in order to plan the first-ever Interspecies Festival of Finsbury Park.
The Interspecies Festival will be a gathering for all species to showcase their histories and cultures, their interests and expertises. Like a Festival of Britain or a World’s Fair, it will be a place of discovery, marvels and broadened horizons. But it can only be planned if you help all the species of the park present their ideas.
By planning together the Interspecies Festival human people will build empathy pathways to other beings. They will learn about and acknowledge the equal rights of more-than-human people to the same range of freedoms they expect for themselves. And they will decide how to connect even more deeply with all the species of the park through a festival for all.
2. The Interspecies Artists Forum
In this artists’ game, a small group of artists will convene in VR to design a set of festival activities based on everything learned and proposed through the Assemblies. For example, the dogs might lead on the Sniffathon followed by Barkeoke, Name that Honk for the Geese, and the Squirrels present the Antique Nut Show. These activities will then be presented as 360 scenes for mobile phones for a public vote. Over the Winter of 2021, scannable hoarding will wrap the Furtherfield Gallery in Finsbury Park. Everyone – human or otherwise – is invited to attend, scan, and explore each proposed activity.
3. The Interspecies Festival of Finsbury Park (on the People’s Park Plinth)
In Spring 2022, there will be a PUBLIC vote and final activities selected for further development and public enjoyment in the summer. These will take place alongside the presentation of the draft Treaty for discussion by all the human and more-than-human people of the park.
4. The Treaty
The centrepiece of the Interspecies Festival of Finsbury Park is the Treaty itself which will remain in development until the Summer of 2025. The Treaty will be generated through ongoing research and creative projects produced by Furtherfield, collaborators, and partners and building on the above and all our other local projects. In 2025 when the Treaty has been finalised it will be presented as an interactive document for everyone to explore and sign from within the beating heart of Finsbury Park and it will showcase thousands of pledges made by local people to support biodiverse rights for all. Like the park itself, it will grow and flourish down the multi-species generations.
Read the concept paper here.
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The Treaty of Finsbury Park 2025 is a major new project exploring new ways to build empathy pathways to non-human lifeforms through play.
It represents a major undertaking to do long-term work exploring how an arts organisation based in the heart of an urban green space can support a deeper understanding of that green space and ALL its inhabitants. Beginning in 2020 the work will span a minimum of 5 years with the first 3 being supported through a collaboration between Furtherfield and The New Design Congress. This project is supported by CreaTures Creative Practices for Transformational Futures. CreaTures project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870759. The content presented represents the views of the authors, and the European Commission has no liability in respect of the content.
Illustrations by Sajan Rai
Infrastructure by Underscore, a community-owned initiative.