Making the Best of It: Dandelion
Northern Spark 2017
Public art engagement
Core Collaborators: Valentine Cadieux, Aaron Marx, Sarah Libertus, Marina Zurkow
with Jim Bovino / TOPOS, Courtney Tchida
Commissioned by Northern and presented as part of Northern Spark, Climate Chaos | Climate Rising, 2016-2017, with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Knight Foundation

You’re dead, now. Gone.  Hush. Hush. You can finally enjoy what this planet was about: beautiful sounds. Birds. Waves. Wind. Thunder. Ripples. Splashing. All the sounds your WORDS, your endless words, drowned out.  Can you hear it?  Yes: Silence.
– Una Chaudhuri
They came,
They grazed
They went away,
the fuckers.
– Curtis Fox

The invitation:
Join us in a ritual festivity that invites you to become more dandelion. From trans-species oration to cow eulogies to intimate ocean tributes, this is the party of Making the Best of It, a communal service compressed into the space of a toast – to how all of us are making the best of it, now and in the future.


Northern Spark —the dusk to dawn public arts festival—presented its 2017 theme, Climate Chaos/People Rising.  
Making the Best of It, a small collective (of which we are founding members) of post-humanists making work about climate change and interspecies relations staged a celebratory “memorial” to the human species.
This memorial was hosted by dandelions. Any member of the public willing to wait in line and prepare something to say was invited to contribute a public spoken tribute from the point of view of a non-human identity we assigned to them while they waited on line. In an intimate setting inside our triangular “refuge” structure, each participant offered 8 witnesses a brief speech from the point of view of a non-human agent such as a squirrel, the lawn, the ocean, a cow, or a virus.
Cadieux, Libertus and Zurkow emceed. Over 250 participants paid tribute to humans with speeches and a toast of dandelion kvass (a foraged variant of the salty fermented drink).
We invited, in advance, compatriots to contribute a poem, reminiscence, eulogy, dedication or a brief toast (or a series of these) to the human species from the perspective of a non-human. These and some of the public contributions will be gathered into a slim memorial book to be published in 2018.

Documentation from Northern Spark, 2017.
In chronological order from dusk to dawn. Click on images to enlarge.

All images courtesy Dan Marshall.


- Use familiar experiences as platforms for unconventional approaches to understanding one's role in the changing environment

- Use food sources such as dandelions to foster connections between humans and other species, inside and outside bodies (micro/macrobiomes)

- Connect participants to new forms of empathy in unstable or shifting climates
We have many other collaborators and contributors to thank.
More info on our human and dandelion collaborators here: