Root City Thorn and Other Artist Collaborations

I often collaborate with other artists, in big and small ways.

Discussion and Sunset Walk, 2017
A discussion followed by a short neighborhood walk with Alicia Escott, Amber Hasselbring, Margaretha Haughwout, and Suzanne Husky, in the context of Alicia’s project Another Brief History of the Sunset.

Suzanne and I harvested ice plant and experimented with making food and medicine for the discussion event.

Medicinals, Material Processes and Murals at the OMNI, 2015

In the spring of 2015 I walked around the [ OMNI Oakland Commons ] a lot. The radical collective of radical collectives has been emerging and forming around this space in the Temescal district of Oakland and currently includes The Public School, a laterally organized school that emphasizes theory and languages, the small press Timeless Infinite Light, the anarchist bookstore La Commune, Food Not Bombs and many more. I explored the area around the building extensively and identified a number of medicinals growing through cracks in the cement. My practice of roaming neighborhoods identifying medicinals in the Bay Area has been ongoing for a number of years.

I photographed these scrappy medicinals, manually traced the images in vector and then cut out the shapes with a laser cutter. These tracings were then used by muralist Grace Chen in her mural upstairs in the OMNI.

California Poppy
Rabbit Tobacco laser cut stencils in Mural by Grace Chen. Photo by Grace Chen

Margaretha Haughwout
Root, City, Thorn, 2010
A conversation while collecting medicinal hawthorn berries from the trees growing beside the old immigration hospital on Angel Island

A part of Mary Walling Blackburn’s Radical Citizenship: The Tutorials
on Angel Island and at Southern Exposure


Angel Island:
Friday, September 17th, 2010 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM and 12:00 Noon to 2:00 PM

11:00 AM to 12:00 Noon: Naturalization Ceremony of new U.S. citizens at the U.S. Immigration Station, Angel Island. Sponsored by AIISF, California State Parks, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The word citizen used to refer a person who lived in a city. Earlier use of the word civilization referred to certain civil practices of citizens, but now has come to signify practices that allowed cities to come about in the first place. We associate civilization with complex agriculture and progress. In my mind, a radical citizen is a person who inhabits the city in such a way that they unravel civilization. To unravel civilization means, at the most fundamental level, to cultivate a diverse array of medicine and food in league with the non-human, to give back to the ecosystem more than one takes, to engage what is growing well in a way that ensures benefit and habitat for the lives of all other humans and non-humans who live nearby. Complexity is fostered through simple action rather than the other way around.

For radical citizenship: the tutorials, we talk about how certain agricultural practices foster notions of weeds, invasive species and native plants as well as notions of citizen, civility and belonging. The activity of cultivating one’s environment for the benefit of all life will be considered as an ethical activity that dismantles civilization. We have this conversation while collecting medicinal hawthorn berries from the trees growing beside the old immigration hospital on Angel Island. We will not only collect berries from this tree; we will also care for it. The hawthorn (and possibly other medicinal and edible plants on Angel Island) will be our conversational guide.

A tincture was made with the berries from these trees. We filled gallon sized mason jars and covered them with vodka – later in the fall i strained out the mark and shared with the participants.