Radical gardening

Radical Gardening at dOCUMENTA (13), Germany

Radical Gardening features in the 2012 dOCUMENTA (13) events in Kassel, Germany, in two ways.


First in the form of book extracts of the exhibition’s rather impressive website. That is, my book is included, in the language of the exhibition, as a contribution to the ‘online venue’s … resonance [of the] zones of intensity’…. From the letter of invitation:

Re: Permission to include excerpts from your book Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden on the dOCUMENTA (13) website
I am writing you in reference to the exhibition dOCUMENTA (13), which will take place from 9 June to 16 September, 2012.
documenta began in 1955 with Arnold Bode’s “Presentation of the art of the 20th century” as an attempt to re-establish culture and the visual arts as a primary focus of society, and to reconnect Germany with the field of international art at the time. Since then, every five years, it has become both an exhibition of contemporary art worldwide and a moment of reflection on the relation between art and society. Usually focused on the contemporary visual arts, Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev is however interested in broadening the perspectives of the project to culture generally and its relations with the world at large at this moment in history.
The dOCUMENTA (13) website has been designed in order to contain, display and share both artistic and research materials, as well as more general information. This platform and online venue includes a growing number of texts, images, videos, audio files, links, and interventions explicitly intended for this website, as well as links to other research materials and websites that are already available on the web. The exhibition as a whole, and the online venue particularly, will bear attention to elements that inspire, influence and shape the process of artists, writers, scientists and thinkers in general, such as yourself. It wishes to build up maps of the imaginary for dOCUMENTA (13), whether documenting the activities of persons involved in the physical embodied project of the exhibition, or by simply being a reference point and inspiration. The online venue will provide a wider context to the physical documenta (13), as well as constitute a space on its own.

On behalf of Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, I am writing to request permission to include excerpts from your text Radical Gardening. Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden within this online venue. Should you be interested, as we hope, in a temporary sharing of dOCUMENTA (13)’s online research space with your research on the potential of gardening, we would like to propose the following excerpts from your book on the basis of what we feel are the most significant resonances with dOCUMENTA (13)’s zones of intensity….
Second I am really pleased to have been invited as a keynote speaker at the end of event conference, in September. Disowning Life: A Conference on Seeds and Multispecies Intra-action. The conference is held over two days, 10 and 15 September, with the first day’s subject being multispecies, and the second day (when I appear) on seeds. Title and lecture abstract:
‘Horti-countercultural politics’
In my 2011 book Radical Gardening I coin this I am afraid hugely inelegant phrase to discuss the place of the garden and the polemic landscape of plants in alternative cultures and social movements. In this lecture I explore some of that recent history, arguing that, rather than simply a retreat of rest and repose, the garden has been also a site of ideological contestation, social confrontation, and critical utopian experimentation. Seeds will figure too somewhere.

One reply on “Radical Gardening at dOCUMENTA (13), Germany”

After travelling for the past 5 years, it’s so incredible to be home where I can rejuvenate my yard and get back to a vegetable garden. I was rather dismayed when I first returned residence, to find that only two of my 36 rose bushes had survived last year’s drought, but then I found out there was a lesson here. As I elect new roses, they will be heat and drought resistant.

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