Preservation, enhancement and poeticisation
The work lies in the repositioning of this abandoned space as a precious place, not only for its biodiversity but also for its atmosphere and importance in the recent or distant memories of local residents. A poetic, sensitive approach fostered local reconnection between the neighborhood, nature, urban biodiversity and cultural diversity.
It explored the notion of an emergency garden of unsuspected and fragilised biodiversity, suggesting its sensitive and sustainable preservation, with and for local residents, as a tool for social cohesion, in the rue Saint Antoine.
“Art in public space has the unique power to inspire individuals and bring back to a community the feeling of a shared experience. Such projects mobilize the power of the imagination to see familiar places differently and make everyday life extraordinary.”
"What is a wasteland for?"
"How can art revive our awareness of our essential relationship to the earth?"
"How can we give value to existing intimate knowledge, traditions, and lived experiences on the verge of being lost?"
Through these questions, the experiment carried out by Sarah Harper on plot 343 of the Murs à Pêches aimed to acknowledge residents' relationships with the land and the maintenance of a "kindling wood". Through attending to its biodiversity and its preservation, the project sought to change the way this undecided and ill-defined space on the edge of the city was regarded, in a relational work with local residents created over the long term.
Scientific partnerships were developed with botanists experts from the National Museum of Natural History, to make a botanic inventory of plant species in this wood closed off for almost half a century.
Botanical rendezvous and educational trails
Neighbours, schoolchildren and the general public were invited to regular rendezvous for observational walks in the company of mycologists, basket makers, botanists and beekeepers. Walks included sculptural and sound installations and gourmet tastings creating privileged moments in the undergrowth for the participants. Exchanges between local residents and scientific specialists intersected through their relationship to nature and to the wooded plot in particular.
Hope is a wooded time
Slipped into the undergrowth were discreet, ephemeral, installations which hardly disturbed the wood: sound filtered through the leaves, images were projected onto the walls or trees, sculptures made with materials found on site, moments of performance…not to embellish, but to reveal what was there - to challenge our interpretation of what is beautiful, useful, or precious.
A very delicate pruning
Pruned trees, carved stone, a mark engraved in wood, living wicker woven into a costume, rebuilding a wall… carving out a place for ourselves by bringing a place back to life...
The second part of the project, A very delicate pruning was a filmed performance creating an imagined archive of the exploration of the site's walls and invisible borders, linking nature, man and matter within the peach walls.
A collective creation of a sentimental and creative unveiling of a space usually invisible. A very delicate pruning refers to the role of each person in their own life, and to the technical know-how based on actions of cutting, pruning or marking.