Christina Battle is an Artist whose research and work consider the parameters of disaster – looking to it as action, as more than mere event, and instead as a framework operating within larger systems of power. Her Fellowship with 221A seeks to imagine beyond capitalist cycles of economic breakdown and towards new systems of exchange, drawing from strategies of spread observed in plants and fungi, as well as in online spaces.


Joining 221A as a 2020-21 Fellow, Christina Battle will conduct research under the working title, Imagining New Systems of Exchange: Looking to Plant and Online Systems for Future Models. Seeking to move beyond capitalism’s built-in cycles of economic breakdown, Battle draws from strategies of resource consumption and trade observed in plants, fungi and online spaces to imagine alternative systems of exchange. Battle’s Fellowship will be developed as a publication, insofar as a publication suggests a political strategy that constructs a public and extends beyond the written page. Research will therefore take multiple forms: a living research document that exists online, a series of public conversations, and a participatory project that engages publics and shifts responsibility of performance onto participants themselves.

Imagining New Systems of Exchange builds upon Battle’s previous experiments with dissemination and methodologies of participation, as explored in recent works such as Postcards for a better budget: reimagining the cut and connecting thru grasses. Research developed through this Fellowship will inform a future participatory artwork that will interact with the x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》(T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss, 2019) garden at Semi-Public 半公開, to be launched in 2021-22.

Battle’s Fellowship with 221A follows several lines of inquiry:

  • How is crisis built into our current economic models, and how might we imagine them otherwise? 
  • What alternative economic models are currently being discussed, especially in light of the compounded crises of COVID-19, income inequality, systemic racism, and climate collapse? How might these models approach and respond to crisis differently?
  • How might we imagine a new economic model that is more just and more equitable to both human and non-human entities?
  • How might these new economic models be applied to online environments?
Live Stream – Introducing 221A’s 2021 Fellows, January 22, 2021
Live Stream – Infrastructure & the Back Loop: Christina Battle with Stephanie Wakefield, April 30, 2021
Imagining new systems of exchange publication
(Image: Michelle Campos Castillo)

In Spring 2023, the participatory artwork interacting with the x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》(T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss, 2019) garden at Semi-Public 半公開 begins.

The Project:

this mesh begins as a stolon (a community mesh network) will see the design, development, and building of a mesh network within Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Inspired by 221A’s x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》garden, this project will take the time to consider strategies for expanding and developing this necessary infrastructure in ways that are both responsive and responsible to the surrounding community. Pulling from strategies found within plant systems and networks, the project aims to take advantage of the foresight offered by having both the time and space to consider the ways in which a MESH might be introduced, constructed, and utilized by the community. As a prototype, the project’s goal is to take time thinking through the multitude of ways in which a mesh might be developed: to install an initial node to be expanded on in the future; create a terms of service to help guide and shape responsible and careful use of the network; aide local communities in learning how to access and utilize the network (and get excited by its potential); and to create a guide reflecting on the process in order to share knowledge with future users. 

Project Collaborators:
Christina Battle – Research Fellow and Project Lead
Noelle Lee – Community Lead Embedded Artist
Rithikha Rajamohan – Project Consultant