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The Naked Garden
Manifesta Biennale for Contemporary Art - site specific installation for the exhibition "The Rest of Now"
Bolzano, Italy
Manifesta Bolz


The now abandoned Alumix-factory was the largest aluminium factory erected under Mussolini’s fascist regime. The space is impressive, gigantic in scale; a preserved masterpiece of the Futurist period. By invitation from the curatorial team of the Manifesta Biennale, and after inspecting the site, we decided to make a site-specific work for this one venue in the art festival. A close study of the building revealed several microorganisms such as cyanobacteria and fungus which over the course of time had occupied and overgrown the factory. This condition of the space as specific habitat and host structure for such “parasites” was only temporary, due to ongoing preservation processes.

Our intervention The Naked Garden emphasized this transitional state of local circumstances. It was generated by the mediation of different operational modes, biological propagation, mathematical abstraction and technological dissolution. A robot was programmed to follow the growth patterns of the fungus, which thus sculpted and perforated the wall. The new wall openings provided increased light, water and wind for the fungi and thus enhanced their basic living conditions. The piece was later purchased and has become a permanent “living” installation in the transformed factory.

Team: Reinhard Kropf, Siv Helene Stangeland, Berta Gonzalez, Barbara Ascher, Dag Strass

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