100Landschaftsarchitektur designed the Jardin de la Connaissance in Canada.
Description from the architects:
Jardin de la Connaissance
The Jardin de la Connaissance is a temporary garden, conceived for the International Garden Festival at Les Jardins de Metis. It consists of multicoloured wooden boards, a number of cultivated mushrooms, and some 40,000 books that form walls, benches and carpets. Based on an open compositional principle, these elements are assembled to create a garden space, integrating it with the site and the structure of the forest.
Celebrating book culture as an ongoing process of shaping, aestheticizing, and distributing information, the ‘Garden of Cognition’ does not illustrate the book’s ‘return to nature’ or attempt a biblical reconciliation. It, however, engages the mythical relation between knowledge and nature integral to the concept of ‘paradise’, which has always been a primary reference for the garden in history. The tree of knowledge has today become a forest: a plenitude of multimedia and an overwhelming world of information. By using books as material in the construction of the garden, we confront these instruments of knowledge with the temporality of nature. Transformation and disintegration destabilize the supposed timeless value of the book.
The composition of the book volumes is structured with brightly coloured wood plates, which bind the individual stacks together. Over time the artificial colours of these elements contrast the graying tones of the exposed paper in the books and the surrounding forest. Overall, the orthogonal organization is reminiscent of a typical Neo-Plastic composition from the early 20th Century, invoking an optimistic orientation based on ‘primary’ elements. And yet, this ‘utopian’ notion is countered by the gradual decomposition of the paper material. We have tried to implement the concept of transformation as the garden’s primary aesthetic structure. Several varieties of edible mushrooms are cultivated on the books. These accentuate the transformative process of the literarily fixed knowledge, invoking the semantics of cultural and natural wisdom. By visualizing decay as a lifecycle segment, knowledge is exemplified as a process.
The books in the garden are surplus books, supplied by local public libraries and school institutions. There is a variety of size, format and content: romance and religion, science and education, thrillers and encyclopedias. Most of the books have been waiting as recycling material in storage spaces in advance of an increase in paper pulp prices (which did not take place). The discarded and exposed books remind the visitor, sometimes surprisingly, sometimes painfully, that both—natural processes and the book medium—are systems of reproduction. Knowledge is never to be had without effort and cultivation, it requires the preparation of a seeding ground to generate and be created anew. The Jardin de la Connaissance could be seen as part of such cultivation: a library, an information platform, a dynamic realm of knowledge, a sensual and interactive reading room.
In the garden’s second year the books have grayed; mold now rivals the cultivated mushrooms. Visitors have eternalized themselves and their loves with scribbles, tags, and other marks. ‘Marcel and Amanda’, an aphorism, or the enthusiasm for a boy-band have been submitted to the garden’s particular destiny of time.
|Authors||100Landschaftsarchitektur Thilo Folkerts, Berlin, Rodney Latourelle, Berlin|
|Photography||Thilo Folkerts, Rodney LaTourelle, Alexandre Cv|