This summer 2015, as part of the 2 Degrees festival, and to launch the TREExOFFICE in Hoxton Square, artist Natalie Jeremijenko held a series of Environmental Health Clinic conversations with creative practitioners who are actively re-imagining and redesigning our relationship to natural systems and re-inventing our urban environments (and beyond). These conversations will be recorded and eventually available on the TREExOFFICE website venue and will contribute to the listening, reference list and development of projects for the Museum of Natural Futures, a survey of collection of productive public experiments and diverse wondrous strategies that increase biodiversity, human and environmental health and explore viable desirable futures.
The TREEXOFFICE was conceived by Jeremijenko to be owned and operated by the tree itself, acting as its own landlord and generating rent through various tenancies, the proceeds of which are used by and for the interests of the landlord tree. In the case of the Hackney TREExOFFICE, the income generated will be invested back into Hoxton Square and the surrounding open spaces.
Trees are a significant non-human residents of a city, and by abiding in its streets, parks and gardens, they have an essential part to play in the capacity of a city to improve air, soil, and water quality, and to support temperature regulation and pollination systems. The best time to plant a tree in a city was thirty years ago but those trees that are now of age can become even more active participants in the city. The Hoxton Square TREExOFFICE has turned a few heads by being converted into a living, airy, light-filled, co-working office space with its own WIFI and power supply, and accommodating up to 8 people. Conversations curated by Jeremijenko and Riverof Flowers were held in the TREExOFFICE.
This TREExOFFICE was commissioned by Arts Admin and Groundwork, London as part of the ‘Park Hack’ Project, This is a ‘Rethinking Parks’ Project led by Groundwork London in partnership with the LB Hackney, and was developed in collaboration with artists Shuster + Moseley, architects Tate Harmer and briefing architects Gensler.
Jeremijenko has developed a global network of Environmental Health Clinics. This year several of her projects were exhibited at the V&A, London, as part of ALL OF THIS BELONGS TO YOU, an exhibition designed to provoke discussion on the reconstitution of public space, the environmental and information commons. The projects included: London’s first PHENOLOGICALxCLOCK displaying the blooming, budding, migration and other emergence events that represent time as seasonal rather than mechanical; Farmacy AGBAGS, cross-dressing the grand façade of the V & A building with flowers and images of their interdependent organisms, and the MOTHxCINEMA piloting the courtyard venue as a public space to celebrate these prodigious night (and sometimes day) pollinators in the courtyard and demonstrating urban lighting strategies that can increase rather than reduce biodiversity. The Moth Gardens plants were curated by River of Flowers.
River of Flowers will be promoting examples of the TREExOFFICE, MOTHxCINEMA and Farmacy AGBAGS as part of its aim of creating natural 'trails' of plants for pollinators through cities and showcasing new venues for plantlife with a purpose.
TREEXOFFICE image © Jack Hobhouse
MOTHXCINEMA image © Natalie Jeremijenko