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LAist Interview: Matias Viegener of the Fallen Fruit Project

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Spring is less than 7 days away. What better way to greet the new season's arrival than to focus on the Fallen Fruit Project, which distributes maps of places where people can pick free fruit throughout Los Angeles. The collective also hosts foraging sorties. You can check their website for info on upcoming sorties and maps.

Dave Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young started the organization as an art project for "The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest" last year. Taking advantage of a California law that identifies overhanging fruit as public property, the comrades created free maps, distributed online and via flyers left in cafes, showing the locations of all the public fruit in their Silverlake neighborhood. Fallen Fruit now has maps for finding fruit in Hollywood, Koreatown, and Echo Park. The project encourages people to harvest and plant public fruit as well as provides new ways to look at one's neighborhood. This quirky experiment in grassroots community activism has attracted attention from the press and urban theorists.

LAist will publish consecutive interviews with each Fallen Fruit founder over the next 3 days. We start with Matias Viegener who is a writer and critic living in Los Angeles. Mathias teaches at CalArts's School of Critical Studies. He is the editor and co-translator of Georges Batailles' The Trial of Gilles de Rais. He has most recently published fiction and criticism in Bomb, Artforum, Art Issues, Artweek, Afterimage, Cargo, Critical Quarterly, High Performance, Framework, Oversight, American Book Review, Jacaranda Review, Fiction International, Paragraph, Semiotext(e) and X-tra.

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Age and Occupation:
42, Writer & College Professor

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?:

Since 1984. I live in Silver Lake, but have lived in Venice, Koreatown, Fairfax and Manhattan Beach.

Why do you live in Los Angeles?

Potential. There is an openness & potentiality to this city that lets you make it into what you want it to be. It is malleable in the best way.

What inspired you to create the Fallen Fruit project?

First we simply wanted to map our neighborhood for what we called 'public fruit,' which is any fruit that overhangs sidewalks, parking lots or streets.