What is the awareness of Monsanto’s technologies in an average community? Is it possible to live for one day without the products of this company? Are there any areas of life not touched by their brand? The Monsanto Hearings are public tribunals where people and communities present testimony regarding the harmful impact that the Monsanto corporation has on our food, farms, communities, and ecosystems.
A trial is a familiar vehicle for evaluating harms, assigning responsibility, and making restitution. Existing law, however, has strict limits on who has ‘standing’– the right to make claims and be heard — and insists that damages be measurable in dollar value. In these hearings all living beings are potential plaintiffs, including writers, teachers, artists, researchers, farmers as well as any entities we might chose to represent. We use the court as a theater to build public understanding. What, for example, what might bacteria in our soil have to say about the pesticide Round Up? Is there a connection between Monsanto and the collapse of bee colonies? How can we address the problem that law separates us ontologically from each other? The hearing therefore presents creative or artistic testimonies alongside more traditional forms of witness.
Downloadable film file:The Monsanto Hearings
Iowa City, IA: April 21st 2012
St.Louis, MO: Home of Monsanto. November 2013, produced by a coalition of local activists with the support of Compass.
Yellow Springs, OH: May 10, 2014, with the support of Antioch College’s Herdon Gallery
For more information on obtaining the documentary or screening it in your town, write to monsantohearings at gmail dot com.
The first two hearings and the documentary production were supported in part, by the art fair documenta13, the AndAndAnd artist-run initiative, Iowa City SOUP, and the University of Iowa ECGPS, and other entities.
Illustration: listening to zea maize