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time gardens

Installation for the "Jardins Temporaires 2003"// Kreuzberg Tower, Berlin, DE // 2003

‘Medieval gardens were enclosed by fences because the area detracted from the wider agrarian context with its requirements of contemplation and special production. lt was an area set apart for privileged uses. This circumscription, which is also symbolic and reverent, is multiplied inside the garden in the subdivision into sectors and beds. The garden was an infinite chessboard of various preciosities classified in an easily understandable and culturally acceptable way.’
Virgilio Vercelloni, European Gardens: An Historical Atlas

The project transforms temporarily the facade of John Hejduk’s 14 storey housing tower in Berlin into a giant public clock, visible from distances up to 1 km away. The 12 private balconies/gardens on the South facade are reinterpreted as temporal markers of the hours of the day. Installations are proposed on each balcony, revealed one after the other at hourly intervals. The space in front of the tower becomes the focus for an hourly event.

Each Time Garden is made up of a number between one and twelve, readable from all over the district and an instructional pictogram (Sigil) proposing a program for each garden, suspended within the space of the balconies. In addition, inhabitants of the apartments also appear on the balconies at particular hours.

The balconies are closed off with curtains on their three open sides, raised or lowered on the hour, revealing the concealed installations and allowing passers-by to use the facade to tell the time.

During evening hours, balconies are lit up in sequence. Light within closed balconies creates a shadowplay on the curtains, visible from Bessel Park. A dialogue is established between the Time Gardens, which light up in response with the passing of the hours, and the illumination of the rooms within the tower according to their inhabitation.
Marked time emerges theatrically from behind a curtain. In the evening hours, the play of light and the raising and lowering of the curtains dramatises the moment of a marked hour remembered or anticipated.

Client: Temporary Gardens ® // P.R.: Sally Below cultural affairs // Sponsors: OBI, WE-EF, Eurografix // Services: Conception, and execution // Cost: 10 000,00€ HT // Film and catalogue produced in September 2003 in co-operation with the KunstWerke (KW), Berlin. // Photography: Ines Schaber // This project was realised with the kind assistance of the inhabitants of Charlottenstrasse 97A.