These notes form a part of x-med-k. Media Ecologies workshop

This experiment was trigerred by the following questions:

  • How can we contribute to the place in a constructive, long term manner?
  • Can we create a productive eco-system? What are the challenges we face in doing the same?
  • Can we create an eco-system using found objects from the place itself with minimal external ingredients?
  • How can we let a design evolve through an open-source method in an intuitive, improvisation based manner?
  • What are the crucial constraints of a vertical gardening system and how can we improve upon it?
  • Existing systems of vertical gardens are around 30 kg per square metre. Can we reduce this weight?

The plan was to create a productive skin which seamlessly merges with the surroundings. The only external additions were jute cloth, jute rope and seeds of edible flowers and plants, spinach and peas.

Day 1: Finding materials. This included finding wooden members and soil from the site to sieve and get clay out of it. The wooden members were used to create a frame for the jute cloth. By the end of Day 1, we had three buckets of soil and a complete frame with jute cloth stitched in place. This was placed on site to acclimatise to the weather. The soil was spread out to dry over the next day.

Day 2: The site was inspected for sunlight and moisture content. Also the jute cloth was monitored for dampness. Numerous branches were collected from the site to create 3 inch long 'cake stoppers'. These were embedded in the jute cloth to create a layer of vertical reinforcement.

Day 3: The soil was seived to get a bucket full of clay. This was taken onto the site and mixed with an assorted mix of seeds together with compost and water. The paste was then used to make 'seed cakes' akin to the cow dung cakes made in Indian villages. These were slapped onto the jute cloth and left overnight.

Day 4: Water was sprinkled to keep the clay moist.

The installation will be photographed and documented over the course of few weeks by Jan who is the owner of the place.