Garden for a not too distant future
Luzinterruptus, a Spanish guerrilla-style art collective based in Madrid who's work I adore, is at it again but this time they've set their aim at the vegetated and the vertical. Their humorous criticism here is two-fold. One, the lack of green in urban spaces and two, the vertical gardens that are becoming so popular in many countries that the group feels lacks a certain level of accessibility in addition to the cost. They've chosen to make their statement in a traditional Luzinterruptus way, an at-first beautiful installation with light using materials chosen to deliver a message, installed by black-clothed messengers at night.
In addition to their message about urban green space as well as the criticism on vertical walls, the installation made me think about the food that we see in grocery stores today. Food now is packaged, preserved and made to look beautiful as it sits on shelves year round, completely disconnected from seasons and geography. It looks good but it is essentially artificial in nature. Perhaps the discussion of packaged beauty reaches far and wide, beyond urban greenery. And while I'd argue that vertical greenery is beneficial in many ways, there is a bit of a fad that has developed where blankets of green are appearing in various shapes and configurations in some design drawings and even the occasional built project that seem to have lost touch with the real purpose and are reaching more into the category of adornment. Here's what the artists have to say about their installation,
With the installation Packaged vertical garden, we wanted to promote the preservation of urban greenery, because if we continue to eradicate it from public spaces or reducing it to inaccessible vertical faces, the only form of contact with nature will be in supermarket refrigerators, packaged with expiry dates.
In general, it is more comfortable for city planners to build inhospitable cement spaces, where there is no need for special care, than to design green spaces where the citizens can spend their time and enjoy public places.
In addition, we have noticed the increasing proliferation of vertical gardens, which are interesting decoratively speaking, but expensive to maintain and with which the citizens cannot interact or put to real use, being a minimal attempt at providing greenery, but in an inaccessible and artificial way…
For this installation we used 110 transparent food packaging containers, inside which we put leaves and branches found in the trees in the area and lights of course. Afterwards, we placed them on a wall in an ugly square in the center of Madrid and there we left our form of fashionable vertical garden.
Previous posts on the work of Luz Interruptus have been written about their recent and first ever public participation project called Caged Memories, their installation for Madrid's White Night festival, an installation titled "Green Light Grafts" and also their piece titled "A Cloud of Bags Visit the Prado" where 80 recycled and lit bags were brought to the steps of the Prado Museum in Madrid with the overarching message to recycle. Also check out more of their work on their website.
images via Luzinterruptus