More Underhillians


The Underhillians mural is coming along. Here are a few images of progress on Flickr. We’ve been handed a whole bunch of new drawings from children at HTGF School, next door to the cafe. They are so wonderful, they will keep us busy for the next two weeks filling out the underworld ecosystem.


In the meantime, also check out Dirt, the Movie – a film all about the soil beneath our feet.

Drawings emerge of the Underhillians

There have been some sightings of the creatures that lurk beneath our feet, deep in the soil beneath Telegraph Hill. Here is a sneak preview of a few of the drawings that have been provided, which will be used to create the Underhillians mural in the Hill Station.

More drawings are welcome as the display and mural will keep growing through July.



Also, more is understood about the important life that goes on in the soil, including the ‘hidden internet’ of fungi that helps plants communicate and resist disease. The Underhillians project is partly about seeing what goes on in our soil, as it is International Year of Soil. See more here.

Bosci’s blog


We have an extraordinary lodger in our house, a very spiritual and very hirsute human-animal or humanimal called Bosci. He is quite ascetic and hermetic, living in a very small cupboard, studying and drawing.

He is now producing a blog to entertain himself and share his thoughts about man as animal, and the spirits of the beasts. He is named after the Bosci, a sect of ancient Christians who lived in the wilderness and grew their hair long.

Open Studios 2014

FLIERWe have lots of new work to show as part of the Telegraph Hill Festival Open Studios 5-6 April 2014. We didn’t take part last year so there is a build up of two years of work by all three of us. There is painting, printmaking, sculpture, installation and photography – all loosely exploring themes about nature, wildness and human-animal identity. An installation in the tree house is a memorial to lost trees and forests. Brian has been using new monoprinting techniques, as seen in the flyer image. Megan is showing some of the work that was in her portfolio, which won her place at the BRIT school for September 2014.

There are lots of other studios and houses showing work, including the notorious Nunhead & District Municipal Museum and Art Gallery in Gellatly Road, and on Sunday afternoon, a Skate/Art/Music party in Telegraph Hill Park.

Summer Solstice celebrations

Our Unextinction Machine activity has morphed into a project called Beuysterous…

Beuys terous

Garlick Man

We rather exhausted ourselves with January Wassailing, February Tree Love Week and March Tree Play Month. I ended up spending more time than ever online and not enough time out in nature. So, instead of monthly events, we’re just going to do big things for the Summer Solstice in June, something to do with tree fungus in August, and then a project during National Tree Week in November/December. (More about that soon.)

This post is about what you could do to celebrate trees around the Summer Solstice. Midsummer is a time for celebrations of fertility and green growth all over the world especially in Europe.

We live in an area of South East London that used to be covered in fruit trees and which grew fruit and veg for the inner city. Telegraph Hill was then named Plowed Garlick Hill. Robert Browning, the poet, lived there for a time and…

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The Learning Planet


With Persephone Pearl, I’ve set up Tree Love Week, as part of Beuysterous.

It’s on February 11th to 18th around Valentine’s Day. We’re calling you to express your appreciation of a tree (or several).

Saint Valentine was a rebel against conformity – he believed in love, so he performed weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. We have to be rebellious to protect trees these days, as they’re being threatened by climate change (excessive diseases, drought, fires, storms etc) and unsustainable business (diseases spread by international trade, destruction of woodlands for roads and trains, and illegal logging or landgrabbing for biofuels and other crops).

Show your love of trees, as they provide habitats for so many creatures…and so many other things. Chaucer popularised Valentine’s day with the Parlement of Foules, the love between mating birds. A lot of that love takes place in trees, of course.

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Night of the Beasts solstice 2012

Once again, in the revival of the ancient SE14 tradition, animals will stalk the streets on the winter solstice, the evening of 21st December 2012. Come to a workshop to make a headdress or costume out of withy, tissue and paint, on either 8th December at New Cross Learning, or on the 15th December in the Craft Room of the St Catherine’s Community Centre. Or you can just channel your inner animal. More details on the poster here.

It so happens too that the 21st December is, contrary to myth, not the end of the world, but the end of the Mayan long-count era of Macha (the era of selfishness) and the start of Pacha, the era of togetherness. So, a perfect day to celebrate our community and our togetherness with all living species.


Wish 2020


Imagine what our world would look like; an abundance of biodiverse regions and communities living in harmony with our Earth. Imagine a world where our needs are met whilst ensuring future generations needs are met too. Imagine a world where we create our businesses from the premise that people and planet come first. This is a world where ecocide no longer exists.

To help put in place the Ecocide law, sign this petition 

Be Beuysterous

The Unextinction Machine is embarking on a new project called Beuysterous.

The word Beuysterous was Megan’s invention. It means being boisterous in a creative way that will heal the biosphere, inspired by Beuys.

You might have heard about the artist Joseph Beuys? He said ‘Everyone is an artist’ and proposed the idea of ‘Social Sculpture’. This meant that ordinary people together could make great works of art, and also that we could see everything that we do together already as art. However, he didn’t just think people should do as they please and it would be wonderful. He saw art as an evolutionary force, that it would make us and our world better. To be creative we don’t only have to make things from extracted materials. We can grow things from nature, and that is creative too. He was responsible for ‘7000 Oaks’, an ambitious artwork to plant masses of oak trees each accompanied by a basalt column. He died in 1986 aged 65. He had achieved the goal of planting 7000 oaks but he wanted to see a global revolution of tree planting as social sculpture.

He could not have known (although maybe he had a sense) that we would come to an age like this with unprecedented deforestation, whether it is deliberate for profit, or caused by the effects of climate change with tree diseases, forest fires and storms. He would not have foreseen the speed with which climate change would set in, and the need for the land to act as a carbon sink, best done by forests. He would not have foreseen that the Sixth Mass Extinction would be so exacerbated by humans, despite knowledge for so many decades.

In honour of Beuys’ vision of tree planting as social sculpture, Beuysterous will be a year of actions that we will do ourselves and share as widely as we can to encourage others to do. The actions will include:

Going to plant trees near to the area of the massive forest fires in southern Spain, to include creative actions.

Hoping to planting fruit or nut trees in our neighbourhood, and to volunteer for a new food project called Grow Wild. We already gather and use a lot of fruit from the parks and streets, and are interested to make creative things to gather the fruit or process it.

Creating a tree artwork for a friend’s wedding, and more to come, and your ideas are very welcome.

Pinterest and Tumblr will be used to collect ideas and images, and Bridget will also create a book using the Bookleteer application. This will help to spread ideas for actions further afield.

Unextinction Machine art in Nunhead Open

You can find work by the Unextinction Machine artists in the Nunhead Open exhibition this weekend (7-9 September 2012). This is in the Old Community Centre, Nunhead Lane. Brian McKenzie’s Bosci can be found in a dark cave, where you can create shadows for him with torches and help him meditate on the objects he has collected that fascinate him (including his treasured photo of his mum and dad).

Megan McKenzie has created an unfolding digital work called ‘Puss Person’, which explores the animal nature of the human face.

Bridget McKenzie is showing a photograph called Imagine Wolf.

Please come along, and enjoy all the other work by children and adults from the community.