Imagine this: There are mature fruit trees planted and cared for all over your neighborhood, so you can just pick fresh fruit and enjoy it as you walk down the street, without ever needing to go hungry. This is one of the thoughts of Fallen Fruit, a collaboration of three artists— Austin Young, Matias Viegener, and David Burns. The guys of Fallen Fruit say they use fruit as their lens for looking at the world. “Fruit is a democratic food, and not bound to class or race difference. Fruit represents all food and is liked by everybody”, says Matias Viegener.

Fallen Fruit started 7 years ago as a one-time project that involved mapping out the locations of public fruit trees. Austin, Matias and David noticed that people were not walking anymore in the Los Angeles neighborhood where they live, called Silverlake. “Walking around in a city like San Francisco or New York is kind of a sexy experience, in LA not so. If you would walk to a grocery store you are only confronted with yourself and that is not a happy feeling,” says Austin Young. So they started publishing maps online at fallenfruit.org, showing the location of fruit trees in their neighborhood. What happened? People started to gain interest in their maps, started to pick fruit, and talk to their neighbors. Then people were planting more fruit trees and vegetable plants in the neighborhood. Fallen Fruit had taken off. Through the years, the three men have worked on several similar projects elsewhere in the world.

In 2010, Fallen Fruit even had an exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The exhibition examines the symbolic, abstract and sociological aspects of fruit in art – from religious symbolism to embedded social messages.

Today the artists of Fallen Fruit continue to look at the world and the way we live, with fruit as their lens. What if they could take over city planning in LA? “We would create a fruit neighborhood, with Orange street and Banana Circle!” Fruit trees everywhere and fruit for everyone!

Created by Joris Debeij

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