The interdisciplinary project Garden Networks was organized by the Czech collective Node9 and hosted in Freistadt in cooperation with the VegLab. Garden Networks aimed to raise awareness of the multifaceted connections between human and organic life, and to activate and strengthen different networks of knowledge and practices: connecting gardeners and bio-laboratories, food and knowledge networks, and connecting individuals and society with their environment.
This ecosystemic sensitivity was built through participatory workshops and performances, such as the series of Root Laboratories: based on do-it-yourself chromatographic analyses with microscopes, participants explored the qualities of the soil of the workshop‘s location and used it to create natural pigments.
The participatory performance and installation Metabolic took place during the opening weekend and offered the audience a ritual to become part of the garden network by paying attention to the exchange of materials and energy that takes place in the nutrient cycle. By eating edible objects prepared by Nikola Brabcová und Karin Šrubařová, visitors entered a ritual, large-scale metabolic process and began to engage with life forms outside the human-centered logic. The sonic interaction with the environment was then proposed by the sound artist Aloïs Yang: through the presence of a modular sound composition in the space, a systemic change was stimulated, the result of which was the gathering of a flock of birds in the trees of the castle moat. The ritual ended with a guided meditation by Aliaksanda Yakubouskaya, who used hydro-feminist and water-based thinking to organize experimental moments on the process of sleeping, napping and dreaming with plants.
Finally, the circulation of knowledge about gardening and environmental practices was presented in the Library box, a sculpture that speculates on the idea of the wooden data center. Combining low-tech electronics, organic matter, and printed materials, the Library Box prototypes a biodiversity-based infrastructure for rural areas, gardens, forests, and off-grid habitats. Zines and books on environmental practices were available there, making Garden Networks also a project that seeks to document the ephemeral practices and exchanges of hacker farms, citizen labs, artistic research centers, and other sites of post-fossil environmental practice.
Nikola Brabcová, Michal Klodner, Karin Šrubařová, Aliaksandra Yakubouskaya & Aloïs Yang
Nikola Brabcová and Karin Šrubařová do not only work as individual artists and educators, but are also a long-standing artistic duo. They founded Prototype, a platform for artistic, curatorial, educational, and space specific collaboration that combines activism, education, and a love for the artistic process. Their artistic practice is shaped by being interdisciplinary and exploring the possibilities of collective working processes. They reference the authenticity of a place not just through its genius loci, but particularly also through artistic research that is conducted within a certain area.
Michael Klodner moves between audio-visual live performances and experimental film works, gardening in the forest and the development of Livinglab. He has a background in IT and coding and is the founder and curator of the digital community server and the online gallery node9.org. He writes about online activism, digital curating, and post-mediality as part of the creation of networks that are based on trust. In his most recent projects on the role of artistic research in the realm of sustainability, he deals with the mathematical aspects of media art in the context of ecosystems and nature-culture communities that go beyond human beings. The goal of Livinglab is the development of an interdisciplinary method for non-destructive life research in nature and in the wild.
Aliaksandra Yakubouskaya sees herself as a mountain learning to become sand in order to fill every form, to follow the wind and dissolve into the surroundings – both on the inside and out, in the virtual and analogue. Her most recent explorations of different forms of matter and of the process of “mattering” manifest in time-based, audio-visual, and performative practices. Her installation performances and shaped spaces are situations that make an intimate relationship between participants possible. She composes immaterial substances and “materials” such as collective dreams and memories, or breath and voice, in order to explore immaterial collective bodies, and the interconnectivity between spaces.
Aloïs Yang is a conceptional media artist, performer, and experimental musician, who explores the relationships and interactions between humans, sound, and surroundings. His work is influenced by scientific references and human incompleteness in their understanding of nature. His works look into the perception of time and space, using sound as the primary material. Through sensors and real-time calculations he places the focus in his works on the human participation and creates unique content. Aloïs Yang deals with various different topics, such as brain functioning, micro and macro realities, ecological circulatory systems, the element of water, the apocalypse, and the birth of the universe.