Urban Gardens and Interventions

Gardens are political spaces rife with contradiction. Historically, artists and filmmakers have represented them as cultivated enclosures that convey a sense of paradise when juxtaposed with the reality outside the garden gates. Germany is home to approximately one million private allotment gardens that are clustered together in colonies and open to public view. Sown throughout a dense urban setting, Berlin allotments offer a glimpse into the simultaneously public and private, German community garden subculture. Kleingärten associations embody a desire for a contained, self-sufficient utopia that acts as an idealized micro-version of the larger society. This site-specific inquiry into Kleingärten will culminate in an extended video art piece through the combination of taped conversations with Berlin gardeners in their allotments, the use of text, narration and both direct and constructed sound. It will address the central question: When recording people in their idealized environment, where is the line between documentary and fiction? This ambiguity points to an inherent dialectic between modes of documentation and the presumption of objectivity.

Public Gardens Private spaces
ISHS, International Society for Horticultural Science
Acta Horticulturae, November 2010