SeedSpaces: hacking the cracks

Project Description:

Small seed packets are designed and distributed, for project participants to plant and grow plants in the cracks in sidewalks in the city of Gent. Over the period of six months users collect photos and send them to the project website, or to the Voorhuit, (where they are posted on the website for people without their own access to computers). Stickers identify both the sites of plants and the people who planted them. It is hoped that a community will develop as a result of this simple activity.

many small cracks in the sidewalks and walls of Gent

Location Description:
Users find these small spaces, cracks in the hardware of the city, and fill them with the "code" or "software" of the project.

User Experience:

SeedSpaces seed packets are distributed throughout Gent containing seeds, some soil, and two project stickers. Users are asked to Find a crack or little gap. They plant the seeds, add a little soil and a little water, and palce a sticker near their planting. They also place a sticker on themselves or their bag. users continue to care for their palnts and look out for other plants and planters (identified by stickers). As the plants grow people are encouraged to send photos, drawings and descriptions of their plants locations to the project website, or by mail to the Voorhuit, in Gent.


Technical Description:
Using the metaphor of a seed - inside is the code/software, outside is the harware as cityspace, technology = biological growth. The project website allows users to upload images and descriptions of the sites of planting, and provides a map of Gent, and becomes another site, along with the city, where users can recognise the activity of other users.

Team Description:
Geert Verstraete, Carolien McCaw, Cordula Koerber,Christian Faubel, Amy Franceschini

Connecting people and places, creating utopic spaces inside urban cracks, identifying and promoting greenery in the city, founding a community through project identification tags, enabling people to change and participate in their city using very simple technology.

Who does the project benefit? Who is it for (audience)?
People who appreciate nature in urban environments, and enjoy subtle subverrsion. The whole city might benefit!

What aspect of "community" does it address?
Community building is based on a simple activity and shared interest, an outcome which may connect people in new ways. Networking is used here as an operative concept.

What is the life span of the project? How does it exist elsewhere?
How does it exist beyond the workshop?
Specifically located in Gent, the project also exists on the www. The project lasts for one growing season, beginning in Spring and ending in early winter. There is a possibility of repeating the project in New Zealand, in the Southern Hemisphere, to complete an annual cycle. Any people, any city, anywhere in the world could join!


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Other Thoughts:

Cultivation, a word rooted in culture, describes the relationship between humans and natural process. The Belgian tradition of allotments, growing vegetables by the train tracks could be seen as a precedent, railways create a crack in the landscape. The utopic city designs of Bert Theis would be a the end result of a project beginning with SeedSpaces!

References: (urls, projects, books)
Isola Project Milano, Bert Theis
Book: No Art = No City

Connecting People:

another urban art project siting works in disused urban spaces






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