The Soil Factory

Exploring Interactions Between
Social, Arts and Scientific Networks

Calendar 2023

September 22, (Friday) 8pm, Friday Movie Night: Tonight we’ll feature The Wind Will Carry Us (1999) (1 hr 58 min) Iranian film directed by Abbas Kiarostami. Landscapes and mystery, an engineer arrives from Tehran to rural Iran and becomes fascinated with the people of the village where he stays and works.

October 1 – 8 Artist Nathaniel Hendrickson, returns to The Soil Factory Residency for the week with artist Pietro Varrasso to reimagine The Soil Factory residency environment. Be sure to stop by and say hello.

October 5,  (Thursday) Anna Davidson –one night show
Anna Davidson and her students mix environment and art into a very special presentation: Earth PROJECTS, fusing visual art, ecology, culture, and sustainability.

October 7, (Saturday) 11am – 3pm Fall Clothing Swap
…more details shortly.

Remember last year’s community dinner where foods were grouped by color?  Here’s a new iteration!  A salivating new community event!

On Saturday October 7th at 5pm… (please note new date) 
Community Pot Luck

Bring a tongue-tantalizing sweet, salty, sour or umami dish to share.  Expect engaging entertainment and a palate challenging experience

More details to come…


October 27 (Friday) at 5:30pm: Nnenna Okore visits The Soil Factory for a panel discussion (stay tuned for details)

Nnenna Okore‘s work broadly focuses on ecological concerns that are specifically related to waste, carbon emission, and energy consumption. Using plant-based materials (in particular, food scraps and food waste), she creates bioplastic which is made into large sculptural forms and art installations. (from her webpage)

Nnenna is visiting Cornell University and the Johnson Museum for various lectures this week, and agreed to be part of a session at The Soil Factory. Since 2005, she is on the faculty of the Art Department at North Park University, Chicago.

Past Events

Sunday, September 17, 10am to 12:30pm
Make Mends Meet 
continues to meet in fall every other Sunday with good company, tea and cookies. We also have fabulous clothes to “seed” another clothing swap this fall. Come this Sunday to make, mend and plan with us.

If you don’t have an item to mend but would like some creative company and/or feedback on a project, your presence will make a difference in our explorations.

No prior mending knowledge necessary.

Friday, Sept 15, 7pm: Join Donna Oblongata for a preview of her upcoming Philly Fringe performance, THE VAN GOGH SHOGH!

A little bit karaoke, a little bit sip n’ paint, and a little bit Sotheby’s. Expect a bunch of moving projections of beautiful paintings by a tortured Dutchman. Come experience the Real Van Gogh Immersive Experience. Free show. Bring cash.

Note: this show isn’t suitable for kids or dogs… apologies!

Donna Oblongata is a multidisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia (and former art-in-residence at The Soil Factory). Her work has been seen around the world, in fields, warehouses, squats, community centers, music festivals, art galleries, and 200 seat theaters. For more info:

IG: @Donna Oblongata

September 8 (Friday) 8:00pm (2hrs 28 min)

Continuing our theme of alternative worlds (Neptune Frost, Brazil, The Hole), we present Christopher Nolan’s classic film: Inception (2010) as a counterweight to his current hit Oppenheimer, and as a further exploration of the concept of dream sharing which we first examined last year through the Hungarian film On Body and Soul. 
From Rotten Tomatoes; “Smart, innovative, and thrilling, Inception is that rare summer blockbuster that succeeds viscerally as well as intellectually.

Has it aged better than most modern day films? Let’s have some fun and see! Popcorn provided.

September 7 (Thursday) at 6pm The Death of Soil Humus

Johannes Lehmann will lead a discussion on the emergent scholarship that soil humus and humification does actually not exist. But what does?

The history of humanity is intricately linked with soil, creation stories as much as the development of civilizations across the world. Johannes will give us his view on the story and some x-ray spectroscopy thrown in for good measure. Bring tissues for when you feel emotional about the demise of humus.

And let’s eat some soil together (or some other things…; including wine made with different organic amendments on different soils,- let’s do some wine tasting!)

September 3 (Sunday) 10am – 1pm Make Mends Meet

Kathrin Achenbach reports that:
“Mending has been very much on my mind over the summer, so I’ve started
‘mending’ books for this year’s upcoming Banned Books Week 2023.
Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada states: ‘Our 2023 Banned Books Week theme – ‘Let Freedom Read’ – captures what’s at stake for our democracy: that the safety of our right to speak and think freely is directly in proportion to our right
to read.’

I’d also love to think with you together about a larger vision of
mending, as a social art practice that takes care of people and the
environment in a creative way.

Come this Sunday 9/3 to The Soil Factory between 10am and 1pm. Bring
an item to mend, something else you are working on or… nothing at all.
As always, your presence will make all the difference. Everyone is
welcome and no prior knowledge needed.”

August 26 (Saturday) 1pm – 4pm Artists Gym; a unique way to create a connection between creativity and the environment-  Here’s how they describe it:

Story House Ithaca and OJI:SDA’ Sustainable Indigenous Futures are pleased to present Artist Gym, an innovative workshop that uses arts-based exercises to inspire creative connection. Led by theater artist Sarah Plotkin and photographer Tahila Mintz, we’ll move, create visual art, improvise, and write in a fun, supportive environment. Everyone is welcome!

Tahila is an Indigenous Yaqui and Jewish woman and founder and executive director of OJI:SDA’ Sustainable Indigenous Futures. She works across multiple platforms and organizations to amplify the voices of Indigenous people and the natural world. Sarah founded Artist Gym and has run dozens of sessions in New York and Boston. Last November, she facilitated the first-ever Artist Gym in Ithaca.

This session explores reflection and connection. How do we clear the mind and center ourselves as we move through transitions? What is the role of light, water, and other elements in our experience of self-reflection and community connection?”

August 25 Friday Night Movie at 8:30pm, The Hole. We ran out of time a few weeks ago so we’re trying again: Taiwanese director Ming-liang Tsai’s prescient love story from 1998, The Hole. A man (Kang-sheng Lee) and a woman (Kuei-Mei Yang) live in quarantine from a virus whose victims display strange symptoms.

Lee Hutton from Film Inquiry describes the film ;”With its flashes of humor and music, The Hole is a disturbingly timely depiction of humanity in crisis as well as a reminder that there are always places to find light if you squint hard enough through the gloom.”

August 25 (Friday) 4pm – 8pm Pyrolysis! CharMania! — time to fire up the TSF kon-tiki and make some biochar. Join Rebecca Nelson as she goes to work recycling years of her lab’s corn experiments and take an opportunity to learn more about the amazing properties and uses of this carbon sequestering material, and how to create it.

August 20, (Sunday) anytime between 10am and 12:30pm Make Mends Meet

Join a group of makers and menders for sharing stories, mending, sewing or knitting. Bring an item that needs some care or an unfinished project/idea for some feedback. No need to bring supplies. We have needles, thread and fabric scraps, a couple of sewing machines and tea.

No prior knowledge needed, everyone is welcome!

August 19th (Saturday) from 9:45 am – 10:45 The Soil Factory will be hosting the start of Ithaca’s Pollinator Garden Tour.

From their announcement:

“The Marshy Garden is a living, restorative, and scalable art form. The project’s principal objective is to increase flora + fauna biodiversity through growing, planting, and caring for native plants. Through the work, we can attract both generalist and host-specific insect, bird, and mammal species, providing them with sustenance, shelter, and nesting sites. Through our design vision and native plant installation, what was once a monoculture turf lawn and debris dumping ground, is now transforming into an ecological oasis and experimental site for local restoration. To learn more check out our instagram @marshygarden_bzzzzz or at The Soil Factory website:

Accessibility: We have aimed to make Marshy Garden as accessible as possible. There are no steps within the garden space. The land undulates, but much of it is level. Folks who cannot travel far distances can park adjacent to the site entrance. Walkways have been maintained to be at least 3 feet wide so that they are ADA compliant. There will be outdoor furniture for people to rest or sit at. Supporting signage in the garden will be in a large, contrasting font.”

August 18 (Friday)  8:30 pm, The Soil Factory presents the epic Sokurov film,  Russian Ark.  

From the Kanopy write-up;
“Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov (THE SUN) broke boundaries with his dreamlike vision of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, RUSSIAN ARK. It’s the first feature-length narrative film shot in a single take (on digital video, using a specially designed disc instead of tape). RUSSIAN ARK is shot from the point-of-view of an unseen narrator, as he explores the museum and travels through Russian history. The audience sees through his eyes as he witnesses Peter the Great (Maksim Sergeyev) abusing one of his generals; Catherine the Great (Maria Kuznetsova) desperately searching for a bathroom; and, in the grand finale, the sumptuous Great Royal Ball of 1913. The narrator is eventually joined by a sarcastic and eccentric 19th century French Marquis (Sergey Dreiden), who travels with him throughout the huge grounds, encountering various historical figures and viewing the legendary artworks on display. While the narrator only interacts with the Marquis (he seems to be invisible to all the other inhabitants), the Marquis occasionally interacts with visitors and former residents of the museum. The film was obviously shot in one day, but the cast and crew rehearsed for months to time their movements precisely with the flow of the camera while capturing the complex narrative, with elaborate costumes from different periods, and several trips out to the exterior of the museum. Tilman Buttner, the director of photography, was responsible for capturing it all in one single Steadicam shot.

(1 hour 39 minutes)”

August 17 (Thursday) 6pm  “Tending Ostreidae: Serenades for Settling” Artist Talk and Demo

“This week we welcome Stephanie Rothenberg, Suzanne Thorpe  and Silvia Ruzanka for the next residency.will discuss and present the first iteration of their ongoing work, Tending Ostreidae: Serenades for Settling (Version 1) They have been working with our sound artist Travis Johns implementing the work done in collaboration with the Center for Embodied Autonomy and Robotics  of U of Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and UB Department of Art

Tending Ostreidae: Serenades for Settling (Version 1) is a multimedia installation focused on the listening body of the heroic oyster. A water filter, sea level mitigator and food source, the oyster is a vital member of our ecosystem. Recently research has established that oysters sense safe settlement habitats through sound. Researchers have also discovered that they are sensitive to loud sounds at certain pitches, which potentially disturbs their reproductive process. 

Our talk will detail the acoustic sensibilities of oysters and discuss how our research has identified acoustic intrusions at reef restoration sites in NYC’s Harbor. In addition we will introduce our multimedia installation, and address how we combine field recordings, generative data, animations and robotic oysters to speculatively emulate an oyster’s habitat and impacts of human noise disruptions in NYC’s waterways. Finally participants will be invited to experience the installation, and contemplate how the artwork animates critical questions, such as: how do we listen for safe harbors, and what do they sound like? Can we amplify new ways to tend to the more-than-human-world and listen for how it tends to us? Can listening with oysters guide us to a politics of mutual tending and a healthier ecosystem? 

August 12, (Saturday) 9:00 a.m.  SCYTHING WORKSHOP AND KNOWLEDGE SHARE with Ben Altman

Gas-powered lawn and garden equipment emits around 27 million tons of pollutants each year in the US – a major portion of nonroad gasoline emissions. Two-stroke engines are an important source of VOCs and criteria pollutants (EPA study). Scything, by contrast, is quiet, meditative, good exercise, and non-polluting. Come and learn all about the use and care of the European lightweight scythe, or bring your own scythe and share your experience. Size and strength are not needed – Ben was taught to scythe by an eight-year-old.  Do bring work gloves, please. Maybe we’ll form a SF scythe team!

August 9, (Wednesday) 7:30pm, join Film Night at The Soil Factory for a screening of  the Afrofuturist film Neptune Frost!  This 2021 science fiction romantic musical film co-directed by Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman follows the relationship between Neptune and Matalusa, coltan miners whose love leads a hacker collective: Transgressive revolutionaries in a dazzlingly inventive drama from Anisia Uzeyman and musician Saul Williams, set in an alternate Burundi”…!  *Note: We’re holding Film Night earlier in the week than usual, because it’s such a perfect counterpoint to Mauricio’s exhibition.  Come early for the artwork and to meet the artist; stay and watch a glorious film under the sunsetting sky.

August 5th – 9th, join Mauricio Esquivel (El Salvador/NYC) for two events sharing his work. From 3-6 pm, we will have a hang-out body art party “Invisible” hosted by his alter ego Postropical, and from 5-8 pm come and see the Ithaca version of the installation “Mantenerse Humano” that has been growing during his residency influenced by the grounds and landscapes of The Soil Factory. Come by for one or both events! BYOB, we will have some light snacks and drinks.

“Mantenerse Humano” will open to the public on Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 from 6-8 pm

El Sabado 5 de Agosto, acompañen a Mauricio Esquivel (El Salvador/NYC) para dos eventos donde compartirá su trabajo. De 3-6 pm “Invisible” una fiesta de BodyArt con su alter ego Postropical y de 5-8pm pasen a ver la instalación “Mantenerse Humano” en su versión hecha en Ithaca, con la influencia de materiales y del espacio durante su estancia en el Soil Factory. Vengan a uno o ambos eventos! BYOB tendremos algo de snacks y bebidas para compartir.

“Mantenerse Humano” estará abierto al público el Martes 8 y Miércoles 9 de 6-8 pm.

August 6, (Sunday) Make Mends Meet continues this and every other Sunday for the summer between 10am and 1pm.

Between inside and outside come for a little bit or stay for the whole time.

July 30th (Sunday) at 11am; Neil Schill invites those curious about creating cyanotypes on fabric to bring an extra “light colored t-shirt” and their creativity as we scrounge The Soil Factory environment for interesting materials and then paint with light.

Also on July 28th at 8:30pm we take note of the hubbub surrounding Barbie and take a look at the other side…time for a double-feature! our first movie this week will feature Todd Haynes’ Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, followed by Taiwanese director Ming-liang Tsai’s prescient love story from 1998, The Hole. A man (Kang-sheng Lee) and a woman (Kuei-Mei Yang) live in quarantine from a virus whose victims display strange symptoms.

Lee Hutton from Film Inquiry describes the film ;”With its flashes of humor and music, The Hole is a disturbingly timely depiction of humanity in crisis as well as a reminder that there are always places to find light if you squint hard enough through the gloom.”

July 28th (Friday) 7:30pm; The Soil Factory will host a presentation featuring recent time-based media by Buffalo-based artist Jason Livingston. Landfill Backfill consists of a 35mm slide performance which co-authors a missing friend’s story via uncanny correspondence, a transmission from Vermonter goat-gods, and a ritual for this summer’s hazy wildfire suns. The evening explores a composted landscape of discarded electronics to sketch a topology of ecological desire. This world wired by animals and heat, by tech lust and busted dreams, by pink goo, by you, what shall we do?

July 26th, (Wednesday) 9pm: Supporting women’s soccer, we’re showing the World Cup game USA against The Netherlands at The Soil Factory (for those of you who do not know soccer or rather football in the rest of the world, this is happening at the moment in Australia and New Zealand). With inspiration from our friends of the Wajukuu collective in Nairobi and always trying out new activities, we are interested to see who in the Soil Factory community would be interested in watching international sports.

July 25th (Tuesday) at 6 pm Mauricio Esquivel artist from El Salvador based in NYC will hold an open studio for his artist in residency.

He’ll share some context on the ongoing collective project “Mantenerse Humano” to spark conversation about our post-pandemic time and the importance of preserving natural ecosystems and their relationship with the overexploitation of natural resources.

Mauricio will show a brief introduction of what he and his team will be working on during the next two years of “Mantenerse Humano” which highlights the themes of identity and the environment. Join us on Tuesday at 6pm (tonight) to get a glimpse of the stage of this iteration in Ithaca!

In the next few days, Mauricio will continue to work on this project and his practice at The Soil Factory, so feel free to reach out or just pop in to hang out, have a drink, and chat while the project keeps on changing.

July 17, (Monday) at 7:00pm Feminist environmental artist Betsy Damon will recount her role helping to establish Ithaca as a center for feminist/lesbian activism in the late 1970’s, and her distinguished art career centered around the themes of feminism and ecological activism.

Great opportunity to learn and talk with one of the original innovators.

July 14, (Friday) 8:30pm; Friday Night Movie: Koyaanisqatsi (1982) 86 minutes- with a riveting soundtrack by Phillip Glass

“Drawing its title from the Hopi word meaning “life out of balance,” this renowned documentary reveals how humanity has grown apart from nature. Featuring extensive footage of natural landscapes and elemental forces, the film gives way to many scenes of modern civilization and technology. Given its lack of narration and dialogue, the production makes its points solely through imagery and music, with many scenes either slowed down or sped up for dramatic effect.”

July 14 (Friday) 7:30pm Artist in Residence Max Fertik will present his latest project using our very own TSF Knotweed, which is growing in prodigious quantities. Come by and see what he’s up to and stay for The Friday Movie Night special. (see above).

July 10 – 17  Maxwell Fertik is our TSF Artist-in-Residence.

Max plans to explore and evaluate the surrounding environment in terms of plants and former pollutants of the area and create and display a series of biocomposite “screens” made from <introduced species> pulp mixed with cornstarch and water. The entire week, will be spent performing the repeated ritual of harvesting, soaking, and processing pulp as the screens of composite are drying which any and all visitors are welcome to take part in.

Maxwell Fertik is an American artist and designer whose work deals with environmental degradation and material ecologies of the post-industrial age. With a design practice informed by a background in sculpture, Max’s work seeks to constantly question the boundaries of art, design and social interaction.

July 10th – 17th performer and environmental artist Adam Shulman will be living and absorbing The Soil Factory experience creating new ideas and cogitating extensions of and from his existing work. He promises an interesting event during his stay.

July 9, (Sunday) Make Mends Meet continues this and every other Sunday for the summer between 10am and 1pm.

Between inside and outside come for a little bit or stay for the whole time.

July 5 – 8  (Wednesday – Saturday) The Soil Factory is hosting the Image Text Workshop. The Marshy Garden and the outdoor laboratory are open, but the warehouse and artist residency buildings are reserved specifically for their use. 

June 23, (Friday) starting at 4pm It’s summer party time! Mark your calendars… we are celebrating National Pollinator Week in the Marshy Garden (thank you Brandon Hoak and Ash Ferlito) along with the opening of our new exhibition, Running with Scissors, a special visual collaboration and conversation between abstract artist Melissa Zarem and photographer Elise Nicol. Now, add to this music from the incomparable duo of Fritz Horstmann (banjo, guitar, vocals and Michael Beggs (trumpet, slide guitar).

Alvaro Azcárraga, the current artist-in-residence, is presenting his installation, “RESIDENT FOREIGNERS,” featuring the introduced plant species growing on the Soil Factory grounds. He will provide homemade tamales filled with ‘quelites’ (edible weeds), along with samples of the interviews he has been conducting with local folks who are also ‘resident foreigners’. He is recording their cultural associations with introduced botanicals.

These quelites were plucked from The Soil Factory grounds!!!

Alvaro Azcárraga is a Mexican artist and researcher who works with plant-like organisms with a focus on the history of scientific colonialism. With a background in Molecular and Cellular Biology, he looks at how the micro relates to the human and beyond.

This is one summer extravaganza not to be missed!

Running with Scissors poster design by Evan Okun

June 23, (Friday) This week’s Friday Night Movie at 8:30pm is Fantastic Fungi by Louie Schwartzberg: Fantastical story featuring mycelium as the nerve center of the earth. It’s a bit kitschy but features incredible rarely seen time lapse photography, which makes for worthwhile viewing. Plus, the added bonus of an “out there” crazy hypothesis. Food for thought!

June 25, (Sunday) Make Mends Meet continues this and every other Sunday for the summer between 10am and 1pm.

Between inside and outside come for a little bit or stay for the whole time

June 17, (Saturday) 3 -5pm; RESIDENT FOREIGNERS
Alvaro Azcárraga celebrates our local living botanicals and the human narratives they continue to inspire. The installation enables visitors to visualize biological/cultural links by raising the ground at our feet to the level of our eyes.

TAMALADA (tamale-making/eating reception).
3 – 5 pm. Saturday, June 17

Meet the artist.  
Taste his tamales.  
Learn new and old ways to fold corn husks into tamale bundles.
Azcárraga’s tamales are stuffed with quelites.  
Quelite is a Nahuatl word for weedy tender herbs that grow spontaneously  around a garden. They are traditionally used as an additional food source.  These quelites were plucked from The Soil Factory grounds!!!

Alvaro Azcárraga is a Mexican artist and researcher who works with plant-like organisms with a focus on the history of scientific colonialism. With a background in Molecular and Cellular Biology, he looks at how the micro relates to the human and beyond.

June 16, 8:30pm Friday Night Movie: About Elly from Academy Award winner Asghar Farhadi 2015 (1 hr 58 min) A powerful yet understated psychological drama about Iranian life, society and relationships. Excellent performances all around. A film not to be missed. 
From Youtube;
“From the Academy Award winning director of A SEPARATION and the Academy Award nominated THE SALESMAN comes this mesmerizing thriller about a young woman’s mysterious disappearance. With the return of their close friend Ahmad from Germany, a group of old college pals decide to reunite for a weekend outing by the Caspian Sea. The fun starts right away as they catch on to the plan of Sepideh, who has brought along Elly, her daughter’s kindergarten teacher, in hopes of setting her up with recently divorced Ahmad. But seemingly trivial lies, which start accumulating from the moment the group arrives at the seashore, come back to haunt them when one afternoon Elly suddenly vanishes. Her disappearance sets in motion a series of deceptions and revelations that threaten to shatter everything they hold dear.”

On June 9th at 8:30pm, our Friday night movie series continues this week with a Studio Ghibli classic:
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984). This world building film explores the humans vs nature theme, but with a more optimistic ending.  From; “The film is set in the far future, where the air has become so toxic that humans are forced to wear face masks,” (sounds like present day Ithaca) “and live in isolated cities to protect themselves from giant mutant insects. The titular Nausicaä is a princess who sets out to stop a militaristic faction from resurrecting an ancient living weapon to reinforce humanity’s dominance over nature.” This film has a special resonance given the otherworldly smoke and haze filled sky we are experiencing this week.

June 10 (Saturday); TSF is hosting a pizza party. We could use a few hands to help rearrange our less used spaces and create places for new and interesting activities. Come and hang out with us. Everyone is invited… Drop in anytime after 12pm, refreshments start at 4.


June 11, (Sunday) 10am -1pm Make Mends Meet; Our favorite mender, Kathrin Achenbach is once again offering excellent conversation, care and enticing techniques to help repair and modify your wardrobe while keeping fast fashion consumerism at bay. You would be surprised at all the practical and artistic possibilities a needle and some thread afford.

June 11, (Sunday) 1-1:30pm; Come and stretch with Kati Lustyik
There will be a 30-minute “Head & Shoulders, Knees and Toes” gentle stretching workshop for those who want to gently move parts of their body: strengthening knees, loosening ankles, shoulders, neck, hips or lower back, etc. Great for people who sit or drive a lot, feel stiff, also for gardeners, bikers, hikers, screen watchers, and those under stress, etc.

Swing by any time, between 1:00-1:30 pm, even 10 minutes can make a difference.
Bring something to sit on (towel, yoga mat, blanket, we can provide chairs), no prior experience or special outfit needed.
All ages welcome.
Location: outside (or if raining inside TSF)
Kati is a (Certified yoga instructor). 

June 2 at 7pm
June 3 at 7pm
June 4 at 2pm

Civic Ensemble presents: Fertile Grounds, a community-based play Written by Katie Ka Vang
Directed by Carley Robinson

Pay-what-you-can-tickets – reserve here:

Join us for a powerful new play inspired by stories of local community members that centered loss, grief, healing, and connection.  This world premiere invites the audience onto a BIPOC farming cooperative to explore the relationship of grief, community, and wellness. Fertile Grounds shares stories of land stewards, healers, and people in our community seeking meaningful avenues for healing and health. Community members star in the cast: Yumi Asakura, Sherron Brown, Sabetha Hersini, Della Keahna, Misko Keahna Uran, Antonisha Owens, Felicia Whatley, and Francine Wilson Jasper; and are supported by a powerful production team, including: Kassandra Melendez-Ramirez and Yusef Scott-Wetherbee (Stage Management), Carrell Johnson (costumes), RJ Lavine (props), Megan Omohundro (choreography), Nate Richardson (sound), and Jason Simms (scenic).

Location for weekend 1:
The Soil Factory,
142 Ithaca Beer Drive,
Ithaca, NY 14850

June 2 at 7pm
June 3 at 7pm
June 4 at 2pm

Location for weekend 2: Community School of Music & Arts, 330 E. State St., Ithaca

June 9 at 7pm
June 10 at 7pm*
June 11 at 5pm

*Civic Ensemble is proud to offer a BIPOC Community Night for Fertile Grounds on June 10. While no one will be turned away, we encourage you to join us in creating intentional space for BIPOC community members whose experiences are centered in the show.

May 26 (Friday) 8:30pm; Last Days in Havana (Últimos días en La Habana) 93 minutes, written and directed by Fernando Pérez, Cuba. From Rotten Tomatoes: “Neighbors from Havana, Cuba, lean on their friendship in a city on the verge of substantial change.” Join us for the movie, snacks and great conversation!

Kathrin Achenbach is offering ‘Make Mends Meet’ this Sunday May 28 between 10 and 12:30pm. Join her effort at valuing and caring for what we have, and reducing the waste stream! And take the opportunity to learn a new stitch or two.

May 19 (Friday) 8:30p Friday Movie Night;    Leviathan 
Another incredible film from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Laboratory. A thrilling, immersive documentary that takes you deep inside the dangerous world of commercial fishing. Set aboard a hulking fishing vessel as it navigates the treacherous waves off the New England coast; the very waters that once inspired Moby Dick; the film captures the harsh, unforgiving world of the fishermen in starkly haunting, yet beautiful detail. Employing an arsenal of cameras that pass freely from film crew to ship crew, and swoop from below sea level to astonishing bird’s-eye views, LEVIATHAN is unlike anything you have ever seen; a purely visceral, cinematic experience. 

May 15 (Monday) 5:30 – 7:30p Time & Space Exhibition
Exhibition with students from Paulina Velázquez’s course Time & Space at the Art Department at Cornell, present works exploring video installation, interactivity, and creative electronics

Student work by: Edward Conte, Kaitlin Ganshaw, Hanul Gu, Daniel Halstead, Jackson Hardin, Sofi ging Jovanovska, Willem Schreiber, Olivia Wen

The full exhibition will be up for one night only open to the public from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.

May 14 (Sunday) 10a – 1:30p: Make Mends Meet – Our bi-weekly mending session featuring master mender Kathrin Achenbach. Bring a project to work on, and enjoy conversation, and an opportunity to work with your hands. 

May 12 (Friday) 8p until… Friday Movie Nightand if the weather agrees, we’ll view a movie on the outside walls of The Soil Factory building. This week’s film is  L’Intrus (The Intruder)  directed by French director Clair Denis in 2004. A deeply layered dream-like film about a loner who recovering from a heart transplant travels to Tahiti to reconnect with his son.

May 11 (Thursday) 6 – 7p Human Composting Presentation
: There are many ways to approach it… but here is one of the more interesting ecological solutions. Learn more about this natural approach at The Soil Factory warehouse!

Also May 11 (Thursday) 5:30p until maybe 7ish: Brainstorming session on upcoming projects, exhibitions and programs. Lots of interesting possibilities… weigh-in and get involved.  As a community organization, with a horizontal structure everyone has an equal voice.   What would you like to see and do? The possibilities are endless.

May 10th (Wednesday) 12 noon to 3pm Clothes swap at The Soil Factory: Come bring any unwanted clothes or items and take whatever you want! Perfect way to update your wardrobe and greet the change of seasons. Any leftover items will be donated. Thank you Nicole & Ollie for making this happen!

May 7 (Sunday) 10:00a – 1:00p Circular Jean Pots Workshop

Reuse and soil science come together at a workshop led by Rebecca Nelson and Wendy Skinner from SewGreen Ithaca to make planters from worn-out denim jeans. You can sew a jeans pot to fill with your own potting soil, or take home a mixture of wheat straw, soil, and biochar. As a group, we can also make pots to add to the Soil Factory’s research garden. Wendy will demonstrate how to use a sewing machine to make the pots, and Rebecca will share information about circular soil and its significance in world agriculture.

May 6th (Saturday), 5:55 am – 8:11 pm: Chasing the Sun, A performance festival from Sunrise to Sunset. 

Emilio Rojas invites all to a unique event at The Soil Factory this Saturday. Chasing the Sun integrates four renowned performance artists and the work of six incredible students.  From the event description;

Chasing The Sun is the final performance of the class Reclaiming My Time taught by visiting critic Emilio Rojas at Cornell University in the School of Art, Architecture and Planning.  This course interrogates the theory and practice of duration, endurance and meditation in body-based performance and contemporary art.

Students attempted to push the limits of their bodies through time, space, site-specificity, texts, repetition and gesture. Asking themselves: what does it mean to slow down in this age of accelerations? How do we prepare our bodies physically, mentally and spiritually to have the discipline to engage in durational works that question the way we perceive ourselves and the passage of time and reality?

The festival received a small grant from the Cornell Council of the Arts to invite four renowned performance artists to create new durational performances from sunrise to sunset to be presented in conjunction with the final projects of the students. The four performance artists are Katiushko Melo (US) Arantxa Araujo (Mexico) Carol Montealegre (Columbia) and Lital Dotan (Israel). The idea of the festival is that the students will get to perform alongside these four artists, and the Cornell and Ithaca community are able to experience new work by both students and well-known performance artists simultaneously.” Students performing their own work include: Adam Shulman, Isa Goico, Isabel Padilla Bonelli, Julia Hale, Kate Thorpe, and Rio Chavez.

Fascinating explorations, great artists, a collaborative event not to be missed. Stop by anytime during the performance! 

April 30th, (Sunday) 10am – 12:30pm: Come rebel against Fast Fashion and throw-away culture at the next Make Mends Meet with mender Kathrin Achenbach and many wonderful people. Look all those beautiful mends from our last gathering.

April 28th (Friday) 8:00pm;  Friday Movie Night:  another densely packed experimental movie, recommended by slow film aficionado Dan Torop.

Robert Gardner’s Forest of Bliss (1978): 
A film without voiceover commentary, involves the viewer in an intense encounter with daily life in Benares, India’s most holy city, from one sunrise to the next. It looks at specifics, and but also opens itself to larger concerns such as the eternal cycles and metamorphoses of water, earth, flesh wood and fire, wind and the spirit.
Sounds like a perfect choice for The Soil Factory. Thanks Dan!

It’s an earth day celebration at TSF this Saturday April 22nd at 4:00pm led by the younger members of The Soil Factory community:
Kid lead activity:
Celebration on Earth day
Making seed bombs with clay (and playing with clay)
Bring clothes that can get dirty
We will have lemonade and snacks to share, if you can bring snacks to share
For kids of all ages and their adults.

If you want, bring a toy or game you want to donate to start our toy library. We want to make The Soil Factory activities more inclusive of all ages.

Many meetings are centered around a lot of adult talking and having toys around will help engage the younger ones and make it more inclusive for parents to bring their kids to these activities and participate.

Soil Factory member Ben Altman has sent an invitation to the TSF community for a spectacular earth day event:

I’m pleased to invite you to the beautiful land where I live in Danby, NYancestral Gayogohó:nǫˀ land – for a free outdoor poetry reading by Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih (Haudenosaunee) poets. The event will be on Saturday, April 22 at 1:30 p.mThe poets are: Kenzie Allen, (Oneida); Monty Campbell, Gayogohó:nǫˀ (Cayuga); Leah Shenandoah, Onyo’ta:aká: (Oneida); and Kahsenniyo Kick, (Mohawk).

Stewards for 13,000 years of lands from the Hudson Valley to Niagara and from Lake Ontario to northern Pennsylvania, Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih people were violently and fraudulently displaced and dispersed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Despite two hundred years of genocidal suppression, they are resilient. These writers are conflicted, messy, modern, mixed – very much of the present but also deeply connected to their cultures and lands. They will present a range of voices including a special treat, a-capella singing by Leah Shenandoah, daughter of the late Grammy-awarded Joanne Shenandoah. I hope you will join me and them to celebrate Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih people – vibrant, living, and totally contemporary – on the lands that have nurtured them since the last Ice Age.

Please send him a quick email if you think you might like to come; he’ll respond with the details.

April 21, (Friday) 8:00pm  It’s Earth Day Weekend and what better time than tonight to Kiss the Ground, our Friday Movie Night, screened on the outside walls of The Soil Factory.

Narrated and featuring Woody Harrelson, Kiss the Ground is an inspiring and groundbreaking film that reveals the first viable solution to our climate crisis.

Enjoy Friday evening’s balmy weather and join us for popcorn and a film!

April 16th, (Sunday) 10am – 12:30pm: Come rebel against Fast Fashion and throw-away culture at the next Make Mends Meet with mender Kathrin Achenbach and many wonderful people. The first hour will be for practicing new stitches and at the end of the session, you’ll know how to mend using the stitches on the lower left. 

Bring an item of clothing to mend or just hang out and enjoy the conversation and satisfaction that comes from saving a special item of clothing from a landfill.

Every time we mend, we take care of our possessions, ourselves, and our planet.

This event, and most Soil Factory events are Free and open to all.

April 14th, (Friday) 7:30pm, Friday Movie Night.  We’ll celebrate the changing seasons, with the silent film classic “In Spring” (1929) by Mikhail Kaufman.  

This Soviet Ukraine silent experimental documentary directed by Mikhail Kaufman, was made in accordance with the ideas of the avant-garde Soviet filmmakers collective KinoksIn Spring is a love sonnet to the city of Kiev and new awakenings as winter fades.  New camera angles, and ground breaking techniques are demonstrated in this film that until it’s recent rediscovery in a museum archive, was considered lost forever. It is also closely related to “Man With a Movie Camera” the silent film of the same year produced by his brother Dziga Vertov which we viewed previously.  There are two wildly separate soundtrack versions to choose from and on Friday, we’ll let the audience decide.

Maybe, weather permitting, we’ll move the whole event outdoors, celebrate spring and show the film on the outside walls of The Soil Factory.  

April 2nd, (Sunday) 10am – 1pm: Here’s your opportunity to help mend the social fabric…  come to Make Mends Meet  another community session with serial mender Kathrin Achenbach. The first hour will be for learning some useful and special stitches. Bring an item of clothing to mend or just hang out and enjoy the conversation and the satisfaction that comes from saving a special item of clothing from the dump.  This week’s session will morph into a Papermaking workshop with Nathaniel Hendrickson at 1pm.  Curious about how paper is created? Here’s your opportunity to understand and play with the process. 

Remember, these events are free and open to all

March 31st (Friday) 7:30pm: Movie night. This week ’s selection: Le Coquille et le clergyman (The Seashell and the Clergyman) from 1928 (Restored Full Movie) 40 minutes.

It’s the very first Surrealist film, written by Antonin Artaud, and directed by Germaine Dulac, with an amazing sound score.  Artist in residence Nathaniel Hendrickson might also show, Exister, a recent film they made with friends that resonates nicely with the aforementioned.  Stop by and enjoy an evening of good conversation, and unusual movies that you’ll probably never see anywhere else on a big screen.

On March 25th, The Soil Factory will present Pagao Club: Sonia Rivera’s installation exploring burlap patchwork as a crossfade of self conflict.  Rivera considers what it means to apply self to material through stitching and spray paint; taking ties from her urban upbringing and weaving them into this elongated collection of an agricultural textile.  All are welcome at a public reception on Saturday, March 25th from 4-6pm. This exhibition will remain on view until Friday, April 14th.

And now for something completely different as we bid adieu to our winter snow series!

March 24, (Friday) 7:30pm: Movie night featuring “3,000 years of Longing Directed by George Miller —remember (Mad Max?) — An intriguing selection from Soil Factory member Cecelia Lawless, “this is really a tender tale that brings landscapes and longing together with science and art.  A potential lovely harbinger for a Friday viewing after the first day of spring?  Thoughtful, maybe ambiguous and a treatise on the joy of narration.  (How can you go wrong with Tilda Swinton?).” Come and join us for an evening of movie and popcorn! 

March 19th (Sunday) 10am – 1pm  Make, Mends, Meet

Earlier this month, enthusiastic menders gathered for the Soil Factory’s first ever Make Mends Meet event. Great things happen when people sit together and work with their hands while sharing stories or simply working quietly. Everybody walked away with either a clothing item whose life was extended with beautiful stitchery, or another project that made progress.

So…we’re doing it again!
During the first hour this Sunday, we’ll expand our stitch vocabulary with easy to learn stitches and explore the anatomy of fabric and holes. Soil Factory member and iconoclast Kathrin Achenbach loves the fact that in mending there are only a few basic principles, all of them easy to learn. The rebels amongst you will appreciate that there are very few rules and endless possibilities!

March 18th (Saturday) 3:00pm

Guests include:
ELENA SNIEZEK & EMILY PUTHOFF: Solitary bee habitat as public art and pollinator garden.

MICHAEL ASBILL: The role of bio char for urban populations in urban environments.
AMANDA HEIDEL: Cold weather cold frame mushroom-growing experiment.
TESSA GRUNDON: Befriending the uninvited botanical squatters that occupy neglected urban spaces.

What a line-up! Enjoy this opportunity to meet and talk with these ground-breaking artists in a relaxed setting!

March 17th (Friday) 8:00pm 

Friday movie night and the Winter Snow Series continues with Force MajeureCecelia Lawless will introduce this in-depth look at how the human instinct for self preservation forces split-second decisions resulting in a reevaluation of loyalties and relationships. It’s a dark comedy, don’t miss this one!

March 5th (Sunday), 10am – noon:

Kathrin Achenbach
 will be kicking off a new group activity; Make Mends Meet.

Bring a damaged clothing item that could use some TLC and explore how to mend and repair garments, fabric and other items that need to be rescued. Mending and darning supplies along with coffee/tea and cookies will be provided. 

No prior knowledge needed.

Kathrin has been stitching and mending for years and will be sharing her many resources including a small but cool collection of books on stitching, embroidery and mending (some of them in Japanese, but that’s all part of the fun). Time to keep damaged clothes from the landfill.

If you don’t have anything to mend… bring any project and join us for Sunday coffee and conversation“.

March 4th (Saturday), at noon:
Our second attempt at a fiftieth anniversary reenactment of Joan Jonas’s Songdelay will be an inevitable triumph of human will, ingenuity, and technology.  All are welcome to participate and celebrate!

Friday, February 17, 7pm

The cold weather (??!!) film series continues with My Winnepeg!  A 2007 “docu-fantasy” by Guy Maddin, the film’s unconventional style “skates along an icy edge between dreams and lucidity, fact and fiction, cinema and psychotherapy” in emphatic, glorious monochrome.

Friday, February 10, 7pm (rescheduled from Feb. 3)
The snow film series continues with Nine Muses:
Director Akomfrah weaves archival footage of African immigrants working in factories, crossing the street, holding their children, living their everyday lives, with intertitles describing the Muses referred to in Homer’s epic. Also mixed into this tapestry are scenes shot by Akomfrah of faceless figures in heavy snow coats either standing on large ships crossing large expanses of water or merely occupying vast landscapes of ice. The soundtrack, an equally dense affair, ups the existential ante with spoken-word readings of passages from various works—by Dante, Joyce, Milton, Neitzsche, Shakespeare, and Eliot, among many others—that have been gracefully mixed with a dreamy score (another collection of desperate references) that’s about equal parts sorrowful, joyous and terrifying. The Nine Muses could’ve been a bravura and rigorous display of erudition and editorial showmanship that’s all structure and portent, but this film, which Akomfrah has said he’s wanted to make for 20 years, has an obsessive power.
Slant Magazine
This film cannot be summed up in a few words, even if those words were “wild” and “disparate”.
Tuesday, February 7 from 7:30pm-9pm
Story House Ithaca brings their first Presentation Night at TSF, hosted and organized by Omar Shehata!  Come celebrate the joy of learning at this evening of short talks by non-experts!
Thursday, Feb 2 at 7pm
A planning session for the upcoming and highly anticipated second attempt at a reenactment of Songdelay (1973) by Joan Jonas. Jonas choreographed a theater of space, movement, and sound for a “cast” including Gordon Matta-Clark, with the urban landscape of New York in a featured role. Come for the particular poetry of repeatedly gesturing at the 50 year anniversary of an immensely particular artwork; stay for an impromptu game night (ferocious cribbage, perhaps).


January 20, 2023 (Friday) at 7pm

Our beloved film series is back: join us for some winter fun!  We will be showing Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) — the first film in Canada to be directed and acted in the Inuit language, Inukitut. If we have little snow in Ithaca, let us bring it to us through cinema. This is a stunning, and slow, film based on oral legend and set in the ancient past. Some consider it the greatest Canadian film of all times.


January 22nd, 2023 (Sunday), 4:30-6pm

This week is a last chance to take in the exhibition currently on view.  Please join us for the closing of Get Soft!

Chloe Mako will lead a small workshop on how to weave a God’s Eye and Julia Trehan will present a short artist talk at 5:30pm.

Sunday, January 15, 2023 at 1pm

Join us to participate in a 50th anniversary re-performance of Joan Jonas’s Songdelay.

We will work off of Jonas’s performance script, as well as memories (or a reviewing) of the filmed version. We will make plans and do tests. All towards making a video recording of a Songdelay at the Soil Factory, the site of which boasts a field as performing area reminiscent of Jonas’s “ten-block grid of city streets bounding vacant lots and leveled buildings”. Wood blocks, mirror, and a hoop will be provided. Be dressed for the outdoors!


Friday, Sept 15, 7pm: Join Donna Oblongata for a preview of her upcoming Philly Fringe performance, THE VAN GOGH SHOGH!

A little bit karaoke, a little bit sip n’ paint, and a little bit Sotheby’s. Expect a bunch of moving projections of beautiful paintings by a tortured Dutchman. Come experience the Real Van Gogh Immersive Experience. Free show. Bring cash.

Note: this show isn’t suitable for kids or dogs… apologies!

Donna Oblongata is a multidisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia (and former art-in-residence at The Soil Factory). Her work has been seen around the world, in fields, warehouses, squats, community centers, music festivals, art galleries, and 200 seat theaters. For more info:

IG: @Donna Oblongata