3 Feburary 2008
Near Hugo-Heimann-Str, Gropiusstadt, Berlin
For one week in February, I was an artist-in-residence in Gropiusstadt, a settlement in southwest Berlin. Gropiusstadt was conceived as a modern “garden city” with a mix of houses and apartment buildings, in a green oasis of lawns and trees, at the edge of the city. The area ended up being much more densely constructed than the original planner, Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius had intended, but there is still much more green and many more trees than elsewhere in the city.
Because of this, it was much less easy than I had expected to find single plants or trees to observe. I had been hoping to work a lot on Urban Plant Research while there, but it was like trying to find urban plants in a large park. Few plants stood out as individual or unusual, rather than blending into the overall impression of abundant green. Also, the plants mostly did not seem like they had to cope with an urban situation, which is, after all, the focus of this project. I ended up making hardly any entries as I usually do – stopping to record observations of a specific plant – but just walked around the area, photographing a variety of things.
However, on looking through the photos afterwards, I realized I had seen some interesting plant moments after all: a kind of bush which I dubbed the “trash-bin plant” that had become a collector of leaves from trees above (the one in the picture is only one of many), a tied tree, a tree in a laundry house thriving in the warmth and steam, a tree that someone had marked with a pink clothespin.