Sabtu, 25 Agustus 2007

Edible Estates

Fritz Haeg has been recently creating edible landscape design. Or eatable landscaping. Or vegetable social gardening. Or call it what you wish. In any case, it's only with edible plants. And apparently that's just about the most in thing around these days. But that's not what I like most about it. The best part of it is its connection to the idea of creating a public space out of a private one. Haeg's transformation of space involves a community working on a private front lawn to transform it into a public space, a sort of a public vegetable garden.

My favorite fragment from a very interesting interview:
I am very interested in the real economics involved once you deviate from the commercial conventions of the art and design world.
Most of the work I have been doing never paid until recently. For years I supported myself mostly by teaching and some modest architecture fees for small projects. Now I teach occasionally and I support myself from (in descending order) architecture design fees from the few projects I do, artist commission fees from museums, occasional teaching salaries, speaking honorariums, writing, and a bit from the Sundown Schoolhouse. The amount I actually earn from any one of them varies wildly, so I do what I do and hope every thing balances out in the end. I’m always living right on the edge though. That uncertainty is the price of doing work that does not have a conventional market.
Scary. Scary.

It is also interesting to compare this to the type of question that has been recently raised in Portugal - about the illegal hortas, or vegetable gardens often in the perimeters of cities and often in public spaces, which are often seen as a horrible left-over of the Salazarist era. Today some people seem to have a different approach, considering this an important cultural and aesthetic heritage.
There is something anarchist about promoting the Estates and the hortas, that both attracts and repels me. Maybe it's the feeling that this "new aesthetics" is being forced on us the same way any attempted revolution imposes a new set of values as "universal" (notice, for instance, how in the interview the more reticent onlookers are seen as retrograde and "regressive").

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