Garden as Contradictory Utopian Space
Rosalind Masson & Florence Freitag
Research Residency in Cooperation with the Botanical Garden of TU Dresden
The research question behind this residency was inspired by a 2019 exhibition titled after Hieronymus Bosch’s 1500’s masterpiece ‘Garten der Irdischen Freuden’ at Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin. The exhibition dealt with the Anthropocene in relation to topics such as seed politics, legacies of colonialism and historical segregation. The exhibition examined the garden as a place of duality and contradiction: between harmony and chaos, exclusion and inclusion, utopia and dystopia. Further investigation led to the problematics behind the term Anthropocene and the discovery of dark ecologist Timothy Morton’s term subscendence. Subscendence simply put means the whole is lesser than the sum of its parts. Somatic practices, amongst other things, facilitate a subscendence of body, allowing the experiencer to access a cellular, neural and metabolic level of listening and understanding. Facing climate extinction, how do somatic practices allow us to re-situate ourselves as a part of a symbiotic community of plants and why is consciously breathing an act of radical resistance?
Due to travel restrictions in place because of COVID-19, Rosalind Masson and collaborator, performer and multi-media artist Florence Freitag, had been involved in a long dist/dance residency with the Botanical Garden of TU Dresden with their main research partner, scientific director Dr. Barbara Ditsch. Rosalind had been working from the Obermühle Görlitz where she lives and gardens. Florence began her residency in Berlin – accompanied by 21 green indoor companions and a huge Feld – and joined Rosalind in May to continue their research at closer distance and present their research at the Botanical Gardens in Dresden once it reopened.
The blogs of the two artists: