The "five finger plan" of Copenhagen, is made to make the city develop along five lines of infrastructure and leave intact green belts between the fingers deep into the city. In a way this quite ingenious plan holds the promise that the city and its surroundings can be integrated and the growth of the city controlled to some degree by planning the infrastructure. The plan developed in 1947 does still work as the overall framework for the city though much has been built also between the fingers.
Hot summer of urban farming continues along this trajectory and explores various ways that gardens and farming can be integrated in the city, though on a much smaller scale. Over the summer 8 artists and groups have been making plantations and temporary gardens in Copenhagen's lesser used spaces.
The works are situated in Outer Nørrebro, which is characterized by the highest density of people, the biggest ethnic mix and the least square meter public space per inhabitant. If you take a careful look there are small pockets of undetermined spaces mainly used by dog owners if by any. In the tradition of "zwischennutzung" -temporary uses of city spaces -the projects that the artists made are temporary or made to slowly dissolve in the city and take a life of their own.
Åsa Sonjasdotter have made potato gardens with a variety of sorts supplied by the Nordic Gene Bank a quite remarkable institution that stores seeds and plants from all over the world. A thorough research into the cultural history of the potato, tells a story of how patents to plants are managing to make it illegal to grow most varieties of potato's. One sort has a special status; the "Asparges potato" has been bought by an independent group who has given the rights back to the public.
Marie Markman has done calculations on how much could actually be grown if the leftover spaces were cultivated. While the project does not suggest that this should actually happen it would provide for some weird parks and plantations in the city if other crops were introduced. At least in free Soil we like farming and parks together a lot.
An on going fight for one of the biggest free areas in the city by artist group YNKB is documented on the "hot Summer" website as well as a pretty rough weed garden turned into a parterre. Nance Klehms has made a project about immigration and farming; she exported corn from the US into Denmark made it into tortillas and served them in exchange for stories of migration. Gillion Grantsaan has harvested stories about national and international politics from a bench in a newly made park.
For the Garage festival 09 Free Soil have conducted a site specific research project investigating the environment of the Baltic Sea.
We created an alternative archive of political and historical events that have occurred in the Baltic Sea region, especially Stralsund and linked these with the sea’s responses. The impact of Industrialisation, population growth and political changes has resulted in climatic and environmental changes recorded in the sea. Nature retaliates by creating new forms, one of the most significant being the spread and growth of toxic Blue Green Algae or “phytoplankton”
Images: wooden sewerage pipe from Stralsund. &
Portrait of William Lindley the designer of the first sewerage system in Stralsund, algae on paper.