The Potting Shed

The art project will perform and document a series activities in the park or in its vicinity. These activities, listed under the headings to your left, are realized as temporary and ephemeral actions meant to serve as surface of contact between locals, and as examples for us to tease out new modes of dialogue, direct contact and collaboration between residents of the area.

The potting shed in the title of this page is concrete:  We are currently planning for the build of a small shed, placed temporarily in the park from April 2021 – 2023.

The shed in itself is referencing the fact that the former area of the park once was filled with potting sheds, serving as permanent residence for the first and utterly poor inhabitants of the urban area.

The local housing areas on each side of the park currently are more or less hostile towards each other, and the park is acting like a buffer zone rather than a shared space.The aim of the shed is to mount a shared and neutral space, where it can be possible to generate and test out shared ideas and formats for local co-ownership of a future Grønningen park.

Artist and graphic designer Åse Eg Jørgensen is my collaborator on this journey.

Table // Aug 2020

We built two tables with accompanying benches and introduced them to the neighborhood as a mobile and temporary point of direct contact between the residents of the area, and the landscape architects tasked with defining their future local park.

 

The table design came from the Italian architect Enzo Mari. In 1975 he published a book entitled Autoprogrezzione? wich included “recipes” for furniture anyone can build themselves without any use of machines. He wished for his designs to be free for anyone to copy and use. His only demand was to be credited and to receive a photo of the finished result. Read more about him here or watch a film about his work here.

The table was a concrete way to expand our surface of contact with locals. Before, all contact had gone through the local boards of residents of the two social housing companies, located right along the park on both sides. But it became clear that these board members were reluctant to introduce us to views of the future park, other than their own. So, to meet and record additional perspectives, we took the table on a trip to three different parts of the local area around the park.

On each position, we inquired random passers-by about where they would walk when using the area and the park. We also asked about their thoughts and feelings concerning the neighborhood. Some of the people we met, quickly moved on after speaking to us. Others stayed around for a while, speaking to each other about the park or other topics. Some did not agree on anything at all, while others recognized each other´s point of view.
On each position, we inquired random passers-by about where they would walk when using the area and the park. We also asked about their thoughts and feelings concerning the neighborhood. Some of the people we met, quickly moved on after speaking to us. Others stayed around for a while, speaking to each other about the park or other topics. Some did not agree on anything at all, while others recognized each other´s point of view.
The landscape architects from SLA kept a diary with notes from our conversations with the local inhabitants around the blue table.
The landscape architects from SLA kept a diary with notes from our conversations with the local inhabitants around the blue table.
Learning from the moving blue table: These are the most common destinations of the inhabitants while moving through the area along the park. Illustration from SLA.
Learning from the moving blue table: These are the most common destinations of the inhabitants while moving through the area along the park. Illustration from SLA.

A Double Circle // Oct 2020

In October I invited a group of about 50 people – locals, inhabitants, board members, and professionals, for a joint public conversation about a first draft from the landscape architects.

I invited participants to sit in a double circle. The outer circle was reserved for the members of boards and workgroups, already involved in the cloudburst project. They had already spoken a lot to each other about their views on a future park. The inner-circle was dedicated to more recent voices – new participants and professionals.

During the first part of this event, the landscape architects introduced what they labeled as their Basic Narrative of the park – all the knowledge they had gathered about the area and its nature, subsequently boiled down to key aspects to elaborate into a real plan for the new park. Their introduction was followed by an open discussion among the participants. The entire dialogue was recorded on video and later made available for all through a Facebook page of the project. See the two videos – the morning session, and the afternoon session below. English translations are underway.

A Forest of Signs  // Nov 2020

The artist /graphic designer Åse Eg elaborated the content of the sign poles I had ordered intending to create a different form of invitation for a joint public local dialogue: The singular words make sense in a multitude of parallel ways, depending on where you stand when looking at them.

A Sandbox // Nov 2020

A very intimate dialogue meeting was held in late November 2020. According to COVID regulations, a very small group of participants were placed around a table, on which there was placed a box of sand representing the park. Participants were invited to come forward in small numbers, to express and illustrate their thoughts and ideas in the sand. Above the table was a camera, registering the movement and images in the sand. Due to COVID, we performed two conversations for two hours. Each conversation was recorded on video. Below you see a compilation of the four-hour dialogue. You can also see the entire thing via these links: link to morning session // link to afternoon session. At the moment these haven’t any English subtitles, but those are underway.