VERTICAL GARDENING/THE CARPET 2011
in co-operation with Sara Gebran
In the village of Dura, close to Birzeit town and Jalazoun Camp, lies a valley with good planting soil and a natural water supply. Here, in a site that must be somewhat of a dream in a country defined by constant difficulties of sustainability and water shortage, we are establishing Vertical Gardening – The Carpet: a platform combining the art of leisure time and entertainment with workshops and collective activities. One might ask ”what is quality time in a social art project?” By establishing a space where collective work meets reflection, we aim to investigate the possibility of developing a practical example for the idea of the Commons; a heterotopic space, neither private nor public and thus defined by and given to the individuals using it.
The project is a co-operation between Palestinian and International artists, and is done in collaboration with the communities of Dura Village and Jalazoun Camp. The objective is to create a meeting space, adressing and engaging different parts of today Palestinian society: the village of Dura, the camp of Jalazoun, the city of Ramallah and the university of Birzeit. Together we join forces in a practical work where traditional knowledge meet contemporary practice.
Another objective of the work adresses the proximity of Israeli settlement Beit El. The lack of activity in the valley makes its water resources an obvious target for the settlement By mobilizing the area through activities, the work aims to defy the frequent attempts of appropriation; not with aggression, but by cultivation and production.
From 5th to 16th October, this hybrid of Living Room and Working Space will be open for anyone interested in Gardening, Collective Cooking and Dinners, Open air movie screenings and Discussions, Dabke contests, Media- and Video workshops, Green House construction, Concerts, Land Art workshops, Yoga, Compost techniques and Ping Pong tournaments, Dance Performances, Fish Farming, Circus and Art Installations. Join us for a 1 hour-visit, or stay for the whole period.
Previous to this period, from 15th September to 4th October, we will have three weeks of preparations of the space. Together with people from Dura and Jalazoun, as well as volunteers from Birzeit and Ramallah, we will work on cleaning the land and provide it with the facilities needed; such as kitchen, tent for movie-screenings and seminars, compost toilet, etc.
The platform will not make any difference between participants and audience; we all entertain and teach each other. All those with expertise are welcome to instruct and exchange. Some days will be more fun, others will be productive, sometimes it might be slow, sometimes intense and marvelous, sometimes deeply meaningful and sometimes maybe it won´t make sense at all – but all the time new experience and knowledge will be produced. Together.
Although originally defined as an art-practice, this project since the beginning has been working in a crossover zone between art and practical work. This perspective is an important aspect to us, since it provides the project with a discourse focusing on ideas on collective use of common spaces. At the same time the plants need to grow and develop in order to give the work credibility, substance and seriousness; we therefore are co-operating with experts on farming – local individuals as well as organisations like Riwaq and Bustan Qaraaqa.
Vertical Gardening/The Carpet is a project by: Sara Gebran, Anders Paulin, Bashar Hassuneh, Ylva Henrikson, Rasha Hilweh, Orabi Nakleh, Khaled Sabbah, Juliana Irene Smith (to be continued)
With Support from:
Nordic Culture Point, Danish Center for Cultural Development (DCCD), Olof Palme Minnesfond, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee and The Danish Arts Foundation.