Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven, London Fieldworks, 19 July 2010 – present. Commissioned for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the London Borough of Islington by UP projects. Photo: courtesy London Fieldworks
One of a series of commissions curated by UP Projects as part of Secret Garden Project: an ongoing London-wide programme of temporary artworks that aims to draw attention to some of London’s lesser know parks and green spaces, using themes of ecology, the environment and garden history.
London Fieldworks’ commission is in two parts: one in Duncan Terrace Gardens, in the London Borough of Islington, and one in Cremone Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Each was relevant to, and funded through, existing borough activity. For example, in Kensington and Chelsea, the project was commissioned as part of the annual InTRANSIT festival, which transforms streets, parks and public space through cultural activity.
The works are sculptural installations made from bespoke bird and insect boxes, designed to reflect the surrounding architecture (Georgian terraces, and ‘60s and ‘80s housing blocks). They encourage and comment on biodiversity: each offers nesting and feeding habitats for wildlife, yet is wrapped around the trunk and branches of an Ailanthus or ‘Tree of Heaven’ – a species that is potentially a threat to indigenous plant life.