Open Greens : marginal zones where culture and nature overlap and enter into a symbiotic relationship. The Kabinet : a collection of city gardens, abandoned agricultural and industrial spaces or miniature parcs on your balconies and window sills. Discover how you can expand your creative space by participating in an ecological network, studying the interactions between organisms and their environment.
Research on the ecology of urban habitats, guided by the observation of city honeybees.
The range of habitats in urban areas is surprising. Most of the major terrestrial habitat types are represented in towns and cities, either as remnants of previously rural environments, or as artificial analogues of semi-natural habitats.
The Open Green project focuses on two rooftopgardens located in Brussels’ city center on 400 m from one another : an edible forest rooftop garden on top of a parking lot and a wild flower rooftop garden on top of an old warehouse.
The Open Green project blends organic and technological matter into one and the same nature. Through analogue and digital means we do long term observations on the growth, blossoming and decay of plants and insects submitted to natural elements such as wind, sun, rain and pollution in an urban context.
We monitor and extract data from natural processes both on micro garden level as on macro city level and make these data in realtime available online via open wireless citynetworks.
a workshop about a hypothetical content, method and style for new ecological media writing today. 17-19 November 2010 @ OKNO – Brussels
In a concise 3-day program, we try to lay the foundations for a common style in treating the TIK themes and materials. Conform to the purpose of the 2-year project, and its bottom-up but collaborative strategies, we deal with the several blind spots that are still open, for thinking about a changed creative output in any media form: text, code, image, sound, word,…
The real subject of workshops is closely related to the TIK project scheme and deals with:
– the available documentation of the previous events and activities
– the representation and creative media writing throughout the project
– the outline of a common strategy for dealing with artistic research currently
– the content of the future conferences and publications
Daily we organize 5 short and to-the-point 1-hour sessions: working scheme, theoretical intro, practical exercises, evaluation/aftertalk and online reviewing. The themes of the planned days are as following:
05.11.2010 // 18h: Preliminary online preparation: a TIK chat on Guy Fawkes’ Night… (check wikipedia)
17.11.2010 // 11h: OKNO brussels : Introduction, and the TIK-methodology of writing with all-media
18.11.2010 // 11h: OKNO brussels : Aestetical, and stylistic considerations of TIK-writing with media
19.11.2010 // 11h: OKNO brussels : From papers to abstractions, or how TIK-writing can make media
Tic [pronounced: tik] = a habitual spasmodic contraction of the muscles; origin early 19th cent., from Italian “ticchio”
Plexiglass windclock, based on a Da Vinci anemometer model. The clock has a gradient range from black to white and a photosensor reads out the temporary values generated by the wind.
Location 1: grey)(area gallery in Korcula, Croatia – presentation of the windclocks-workshop of TIK/ time inventors’ kabinet.
Location 2: so-on’s OpenGreen rooftop, Brussels – measuring windtime and describing the OpenGreen.
Version 2 of the windclock describes the OpenGreen rooftop garden in the center of Brussels. The wind-values, registrated by the photosensor, are linked to the description of the plants in the rooftop garden. The stronger the wind blows, the more present the plantnames are – expressed in fontsize.
The overall movie gets a voice-over by the bees of the garden: they comment on their foraging area and add another layer to the wind movie.
More on padma.okno.be …
the Green Studies reader – from Romanticism to Ecocriticism
edited by Laurence Coupe, Routledge – 2000
Where is the litterature which gives expression to Nature? He would be a poet who could impress the winds and streams into his service, to speak for him; who nailed words to their primitive senses, as farmers drive down stakes in the spring, which the frost has heaved; who derived his words as often as he used them – transplanted them to his page with earth adhering to their roots; whose words were so true and fresh and natural that they would appear to expand like the buds at the approach of spring, though they lay half smothered between two musty leaves in a library – aye, to bloom and bear fruit there, after their kind, annually, for the faithful reader, in sympathy with surrounding Nature.
Henry David Thoreau – Writing the Wilderness
From ‘Walking’ (1862), in Essays and Other Writings
Ed. Will H. Dircks, London: Walter Scott Ltd, 1895.
In 1954, when I went to Europe, I no sooner arrived in Paris than I noticed that the city was covered with posters publicizing a mushroom exhibition that was being held in the Botanical Gardens. That was all I needed. Off I went. When I arrived, I found myself in a large room filled with many tables upon which were displayed many species of fungi. On the hour from a large centrally-placed loudspeaker a recorded lecture on the deadly poisonous amanitas was delivered. During this lecture, nobody in the hall moved or spoke. Each person’s attention was, so to speak, riveted to the information being given.
A week later, I was in Cologne in Germany attending a concert of electronic music. There was also an audience and a large loudspeaker. However, many in the audience were dozing off, and some were talking to their neighbors.
John Cage, Indeterminacy
Just a perfect day. Indian summer. The bees bring in pollen in abundancy. I just discovered the immense ivy covering the whole wall of la Bellone. Winterfood for my bees.
Today I started to note down the inside hive t° every hour, and compared it to the outside t° and the outside humidity.
In the sun, reading Indeterminacy. Cage was a well-known mycologist. Crazy about fungi. Short stories and mesostics about mushrooms. And later in the afternoon I met Thoreau. Walden & the civil disobedience. Wild is exiting, he says. And tame is dull.
Writing the wilderness. Can a poem give expression to nature?
Later, before sunset, cleaned out the rotten tomatoes but took their seeds for next year… and sown some winter lettuce in the cold greenhouse. The olives are slowly ripening and the figues are big and sweet.
The day and night of 2010/10/10 I did some measurements inside and outside hive#01. On the document you can see that the in- and outside t° are running up- and down on a proportional basis.
The t° sensor was placed at the outer inside of the hive, not in the broodnest itself. On saturday, october 16th, I expanded the observation by adding a digital thermometer to the hive#03, which is situated next to hive#01. I put the sensor in both hives in the broodnest itself. The average outside t° is much colder yet, at night the t° often falls down towards 4°.
I noticed the immediate rise of inside-hive t°, now that the sensor is in the center of the broodnest.
In daytime (no immediate sun) the hive t° was rising till 36°, at night the t° fell down to 23°. There is a difference of ± 3° in the average inside hive t° of hive#01 (less) and hive@02 (more). I don’t know (but should find out) if this t° difference is due to the (still) high varroa contamination of hive#01, even after 2 treatments with Thymovar.
The drawing on the rooftop is part of an art project by GOeART.
Following the Nazca lines, let’s turn the roofs of buildings and unused, abandoned spaces into works of art that can be seen from space! This is not just about being creative and artistic, but also making gestures on invisible, unknown and unused areas of our heritage. Being able to access aerial views of these areas is an unprecedented opportunity to practice a monumental art which says something about us, where we live or don’t live, how we relate to a globalised world, our intimacies, these holes, these windows which hide and reveal us … How? Let’s use the roofs of our city as something to draw on. You can’t see these drawings from terra firma, only from the sky. New works can be seen each time the satellites that take aerial views of our cities and areas pass overhead. Find our hidden guides, get up on the roofs and help create the first work of art visible from space.
Brussels, jardin experimental, October 2010
Looking for Mushrooms.
Friday, october 8th, I went to look for mushrooms at the Jardin Experimental Massart, one of the the fieldworkspaces of the biology department of the free university of Brussels (ULB).
On my way over there, I was thinking about one of the 20th century pioneer-experimental artists: John Cage.
John Cage was not only a major figure of the musical avant-garde but also an avid mycologist, collector and consumer of mushrooms. His knowledge of the fungal world was legendary.
Indeterminacy was a lecture/performance work in which Cage recited a series of one minute stories and anecdotes in no particular order. Many of these stories related to his love of mushrooms and his experiences of collecting and studying them.
In the experimental garden/forest, I picked some of the mushrooms to study them in my studio. Following movie gives random impressions of the research of the species under the microscope, accompanied by an excerpt of Indeterminacy, read by Cage.
to watch the movie, go to the TIK video database : padma.okno.be
check also other movies of the OpenGreens collection: research OpenGreens – the marginal zones in the city where culture and nature overlap and enter into a symbiotic relationship.
Open Greens research on Korcula Island, Croatia. First we identified the most common species of wild edible plants in the area. Secondly we made an overview of the ones that are overlapping with the edible wild plants in Brussels and surroundings. Thirdly, we went in search for specific plant-linked stories, traditional knowledge and traditional heritage. Sani Sardelic of the local museum accompanied us on a private walk through the inlands, telling us about recipies of local wild plants, linked to the food served on the Last Supper of the Christ – an habit that is annually revived by some of the Korcula fraternities. Medicinal qualities of plants were discussed, and furtheron we visited a local beekeeper with 80 hives, Carnica bees and wonderful salvia/sauge honey.
On the island are lots of melliferous mediterrenean plants, as erica arborea (tree heath), erica lusitania (portuguese heath), wild mentha (mint), echium plantagineum (purple viper’s bugloss), salvia officinalis (sauge), rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary), thymus officinalis (common thyme) and more … Especially the hedera helix (ivy), subspecies poetarum Nyman (balkans) is fully blossoming these days and is an important provider of winterpollen for the bees.
For now, all this information is archived in our mental database, and we are spinning on some experimental setups to link clocks, wind and time with longterm monitoring of several Open Greens.
Bees are an essential link in our food- and flora ecosystem. They pollinate a third of what we eat.The loss of biodiversity threatens the survival of the bees.Due to monocultures and pesticides the bees get weaker and they become more sensitive to bee diseases as varroase and colony collapse disorder.
The biodiversity of the city -the balconies, parks, streets, wastelands and city gardens- shapes a perfect foraging area for the creation of a superb and delicate honey from the neighborhoods of the Kanal and the inner-city.
By buying a pot of Brussels OpenGreens honey, you foster a cluster of our Brussels honeybees and become a privileged member of okno’s bee-plan.
On the attached form, you can make a choice of the hive you want to foster. The OpenGreens beekeepers will tell you the whole story of the 2011 bee-season.You will be invited to bee classes for beginners and you can follow the development of a bee colony in our observation hives.You can participate in a seedballing-for-honeybees workshop and do some native wildflower seedbombing in the city.You can join our Brussels neighborhoods walks in search of honey trees and honey plants, and discover your city through bees-eyes.
Please fill the attached form and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org :
Exchange between the Czech Republic bee association members and the Brussels Urban Beekeepers.
City apiaries, research projects on city honey plants, bees as actors to discover the city’s public space … all this compared to countryside beekeeping in a country where beekeeping represents a serious part of the agricultural ressources.