Vertical Gardening '10 (oct 2010)
in co-operation with Sara Gebran

Vertical Gardening '10 was structured as a community art platform for artists, architects and students from Palestine and Scandinavia. Together with the community of Jalazoun refugee camp on the West Bank, the project worked with the concept of gardening as a tool to create social imaginaries as well as practical examples of strategies for how to think of public space in complex enviroments.

The work intended to adress both artistical and socio-economical issues, where artistical tools and qualities merge with the development of self-sustainable economy. One of the main objectives of the project was to let different knowledges and experiences meet in a process where the expertise in the camps, who’s citizens to a large extent are experts on survival with a minimum of resources, could co-operate with ideas and concepts within contemporary architecture and art practices. The project therefor was defined as a workshop process of mutual teaching and learning aiming for production of new knowledge on both sides.

The workshops were defined and supervised by us and local professionals, where both the tasks and perspectives serve to activate visions and solutions as formulated by the community.
Some of the notions we were discussing was:
• How to grow plants in an enviroment with very limited access of space, and how can we develop public spaces for gardening in an urban area where most of the space available has to be used to house the inhabitants?
• Which parameters can be used in the choice between the priorities of ”useful” and ”esthetical” gardening?
• What is the relation between the need of private and public spaces for gardening?
• What is the relation between design and function, and how do these notions interact with each other?

The work was finalized with a celebration of the time spent together in Jalazoun, with discussions and presentation of the project, a street performance with the Tiger and Jbel Hiriyet Dabke troups of Jalazoun and the Palestinian Circus Group followed by a dinner for all participants of the work.

Partners in the work were: volunteers from the community of Jalazoun, 17 students from the department of architecture at Birzeit University, choreographer Sara Gebran, production manager Bashar Hasuneh, dancer Ylva Henriksson, architect Nura Khalili and director Anders Paulin.