Thursday 2 September 2010

Small World Mobile Allotments & Gardens Centre

by Alison Marchant    (currently installed in Vestry House Museum Garden Vestry road Walthamstow London E17 9NH)


 In order to construct the installation 'Small World Mobile Allotments & Gardens Centre' super market shopping trolleys, baskets and other painted go-cart like structures mounted on casters are used as planted spaces to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers which have the potential to be parked, suspended or placed anywhere in the city. The plants have been grown from seed in bio-degradable peat flower pots in Marchant’s attic studio with sky light windows as a make shift greenhouse and art lab. The installation is a kind of disturbing faux-supermarket that seeks to explore our relationship with the food we buy, and the endangered pollinating species that enable its production. The natural processes of home-grown planting are situated in opposition to mass market consumerism.

'Seed Table Give-Away Shop' the artist become shop keeper for E17 launch. The 'Seed Table Give-Away Shop' is a yearly event which takes place after collecting flower seed pods from her garden and from the foods she has eaten over this duration. Seed Selection: Rocket, Apple Orchard, Melon, Pumpkin, Squash, Oranges & Lemons, Peppers, Olive Grove, Plum Orchard, Mango, Advocado, Sweet Pea.

These small actions attempt to counteract the food crisis. The seeds are dried on paper sheets, counted, packaged and given away. The seed packages are distributed and planted elsewhere. Some seed packages can be placed in the home where one can appreciate the beauty in the art object, the sculptural forms, and the colorations. Seeds can also be used for bombing waste areas and hard to reach areas such as fenced in wastelands in need of ‘Floral Attack’.

Seed Bombs are designed to enable seeds to be sown in a hard to reach places and in locations where a gardener is unable to spend time preparing the ground for conventional sowing. Guerrilla Gardeners devised the term ‘Floral Attack’. The seed bomb is easy to construct in the home and is composed of a mixture of clay soil (or potters powder), compost and seeds in the ratio of 5:1:1 with water bind. The seed bomb was invented by Japanese biologist and farmer Masanobu Fukuoka and his method thrived in the 1970’s New York dereliction of the eerily Green Guerilla Movement, and continues today. The Seed Table Give-Away Shop encourages you to follow the seed bomb instructions and carry out your own interventionist ‘Floral Attack’ on a chosen location.

Two years ago Alison Marchant began her intervention 'The Unconventional Plant Shop' (free plant distribution) and installation across eight streets surrounding her Stratford home in the face of Olympic change.

Working with 150 residents creating tiny unconventional from of house gardens. From then on the aims of 'Small World Allotments & Gardens Centre' as an artist's initiative is to build social engagement by attracting and assisting endangered species of butterflies and bees; and also encouraging urban residents to engage with each other, plants and insects. The acknowledgement of small endangered species also acts as a metaphor and acknowledgement for invisible workers. This project is on-going, developing and creating social change if only in a small way.

The small child size/like installation with series of consumer trolleys and baskets acts as a call to attention of the conservation of plants and the bees and butterflies who pollinate one third of the food we consume and are species in decline in the light of climate change, pesticides, and causes unknown. 'Small World Mobile Gardens and Allotments Centre'posses questions about modern intensive agricultural processes, authoritative institutional power and the impact of this threat to our environment and our very being.