Artist Matias Viegener speaks about collective at new ASU studio

Artist, writer and critic, Matias Viegener was the first to present at ASU’s newest downtown Phoenix venture, Grant Street Studios. He is also the co-founder of Fallen Fruit, a multimedia project that uses photography, video, installations and performances to promote communities to plant, preserve and eat from fruit trees on both public and private property.

Viegener is also the author of “2500 Random Things About Me Too,” which is composed of 100 lists that he wrote entirely on Facebook. His is one of the first books exclusively written from Facebook.

He also co-edited two books: “The n/o/ulipian Analects” and “Séance in Experimental Writing.”

Viegener began his lecture by explaining his work with Fallen Fruit, a collective that maps out public areas in Los Angeles where people can collect the fruit that grows there. The first area that Fallen Fruit explored was Silver Lake, Calif., and the project grew from there and expanded to cities all over the world.

Viegener explained that while the group wanted to avoid theft, there were a number of gray areas with the project because of the blurred lines between public and private property.

For dramatic effect, the collective began to take people on tour of the maps at night, which led to a series of fruit tree adoptions.

Eventually the project inspired public fruit jams, where the group invited a large gathering of people to come together and make jam with the fruits they brought. No one was turned away from bringing the so called “fallen fruits” that are out in public, privately grown or even store-bought.

“We wanted a kind of social mixing to happen,” Viegener said. “We always got an incredible range of people, which was our goal. … People don’t talk to each (group), so this was a way to get them to talk.”

Another project, EATLACMA, emerged from the success of Fallen Fruit. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) exhibit featured hand-made wallpaper that mirrored the fruit found in public spaces through the Fallen Fruit project. The museum allowed the collective to choose pieces from its permanent collection to display on top of the wallpaper.

This lecture marked the first official day of use for the new ASU building, Grant Street Studios, and was the first lecture of a series of visiting artist and scholar talks. The next lecture will feature speaker Pablo Helguera on Feb. 3 at 605 E. Grant St. in Phoenix.

Reach the reporter at Mercedes.Santana@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @MercedesMS17