DAVID CARR-SMITH 2009 : all images and text are copyrighted - please accredit text quotes - image repro must be negotiated via dave@artinst.entadsl.com

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DAVID CARR-SMITH - IMPROVISATION / DESIGN / ART / KITSCH / CHANCE

ALLOTMENT IMPROVISATIONS

VENUES FOR INDIVIDUAL INVENTIVENESS -  PUBLIC, LEGAL, SOCIALLY ENDORSED 

 

INDEX  
IMPROVISED-ARCH IN AMSTERDAM INDUSTRIAL SQUATS & COLLECTIVES
ALLOTMENT IMPROVISATIONS  - ONE TREE HILL / GUN SITE 
IMPROVISED VILLAGES - WANDSWORTH / KEW BRIDGE

VERNACULAR & STYLE - BERDUN, HUESCA  
TEMPORARY-ARCHITECTURE - FRANK'S CAFE / SOUTHWARK LIDO 
"HOME" - MY LOCATION VIA MASS-PRODUCTS 
"HOME" - MY LOCATION VIA PERSONAL-CHOICES 

ART - GOTHIC INTO RENAISSANCE INTO 20thC
ART - 20thC COLLAGE INTO MASS-MEDIA 
GRAFFITI INTO STREET-ART  

DESIGN & CHANCE

 

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ALLOTMENT IMPROVISATIONS - p2

 

p1: INTRODUCTION  

p1: ONE TREE HILL ALLOTMENT  

p2: GUN SITE ALLOTMENT

 

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"GUN SITE" ALLOTMENT - DULWICH, LONDON 

 

I visit "Gun Site" like an art college exhibition, browsing the allotments for interesting/strange objects and formations which are shown below in typological groups:

 

PLOTS
ARCHITECTURE FOR GROWING & PROTECTING PLANTS
STORES, STORE-BOXES, STORE-PLACES, STORE-SHELTERS 

LITTER-STORES 
SIT-PLACES & SIT-SHELTERS

NEXUS 

GARDENS
AESTHETIC CONSTRUCTS / IMPROVISATION AS PRAGMATIC PLAY

ODD OBJECTS

 

.

 

PLOTS

 

The basic allotment form - a naked plot, stripped of natural growth for cultivation, and sometimes conserved: wrapped to prevent the growth of weed seeds - inevitably divides into two main zones: the largest for growing plants, the smaller for storing the means of cultivation; both these zones differentiate further, the first into patches adapted for plants with different life needs, the second subdivides for tool-storage, construction-material storage, germinating plants, making, resting. The growing zone is structurally, visually, 'architecturally' simple, predicated on the needs of plants - here human initiative is only visible in the isolation of plant types and provision of artificial environments that model each type's natural growth needs. The second zone's complexity grows in step with the discoveries, crafts, satisfactions of the plot's human initiator - distilling and separating basic work-needs, from physical tools to invention, fantasy, rest.

 

GUN SITE: PLOT WITH CARPET-COVERS
(pic 31-5-09 / to #)
.

GUN SITE: PLOT WITH CARPET-COVERS & DUG-EARTH
(pic 19-5-09 / to N)
.

GUN SITE: SUB-PLOT WITH CARPET-COVERS & BRICK-WEIGHTS
(pic 19-5-09 / to #)
.

GUN SITE: PLOT WITH COVERS & PLANTED SUB-PLOTS
(pic 31-5-09 / to #)

.

GUN SITE: PLOT COMPLETED 
(pic 1-6-09 / to SW)

.

GUN SITE: PLOT COMPLETED WITH FLAGS
(pic 1-6-09 / to S)

.

GUN SITE: PLOT WITH RED POSTS & SIDES
(pic 15-6-09 / to SW)

.

 

.

 

ARCHITECTURE FOR GROWING AND PROTECTING PLANTS

 

Architecture for plants is a very simple kind - structures whose purpose is to nurture, protect and sustain their growth (mimic natural habitat features), that can be made easily from common debris materials: all sorts of miscellaneous grids, sticks, bamboo, plastic sheeting, nets, dumped carpets, plastic tubing, demolition wood, pallets, bottles and cans.

 

GUN SITE: TRELLIS & HOOPED CLOCHE
(pic 19-5-09 / to NNW)

.

GUN SITE: FRANK - TRELLIS ROWS OF METAL-TUBE, CANE, BEER-CANS
(paste-up 2-pics 1-6-09 / to N)

.

GUN SITE: STEEL & CORD BEAN-FRAME
(pic [01] 1-6-09 / to SW)

.

GUN SITE:  STEEL & CORD BEAN-FRAME
(pic [02] 25-8-09 / to S)

.

GUN SITE: STEEL & WOOD BEAN-FRAME
(pic 29-5-09 / to NW)

.

GUN SITE: ALIVE CONICAL TRELLIS
(pic 29-5-09 / to NW)
.

GUN SITE: PLASTIC-BOTTLE CLOCHES
(pic 31-5-09 / to
#)

.

GUN SITE: PLANT-POSTS WITH NET SUPPORTING POTS
(pic 31-5-09 / to #)

.

GUN SITE: TUNNEL NETS
(pic 7-6-09 / to
#)
.

GUN SITE: HOOPED NETS
(pic 31-5-09 / to
#)
.

GUN SITE: NET ENCLOSED TREE
(pic 7-6-09 / to N)

.

GUN SITE: PINK-NET ENCLOSED TREE
(pic 1-6-09 / to SSW)

.

GUN SITE: NET ENCASED PLOT
(pic 1-6-09 / to S)

.

GUN SITE: STEEL-MESH & NET ENCASED PLOT
(pic 25-8-09 / to NNE)

.

 

.

 

STORES, STORE-BOXES, STORE-PLACES, STORE-SHELTERS

 

A 'store' is an orderly-accumulation of materials/objects for foreseen use. Stores range from a simple 'heap' or open box to a complex of ordered heaps, boxes, shelters. Some of the stored objects (eg pallets) may serve to contain others. The most developed stores resemble small commercial yards: including space for crafting as well as storing materials. 

A store is functionally the most various part of an allotment: the source of tools and materials; sometimes a place for inventing/making necessary horticultural structures; also potentially suggestive of ancillary activities beyond the needs of plants [see below: brick path making] [1].

On this site (for some unfathomed reason) enclosed structures over one meter high are banned. Thus 'huts' - the usual solution for storage of vulnerable tools (and for temporary private/sheltered work or rest) are (almost) absent. Huts are completely enclosed doored lockable volumes, 'walk-in' miniature 'dwellings' - on these allotments their storage and sitting functions are housed in their meanest analogue: a hut that lacks a front-wall: a mere 'shelter', and their secure-storage function is demoted to locked 'chests'. The hut restraint can provoke funny objects: occasionally a small hut is snuck into a store place, a 'chest' swells and acquires an upright door, a shelter's volume is almost closed; 'almost-huts' pose as climbing-plant frames; in at least one case a small bought hut blatantly survives as a unit in a 'garden composition'.

 

NOTE:


1.  Note the role of its associated workshop in the making of an improvised home [ref especially SILO SQUAT].

 

GUN SITE: WOOD PILE
(pic 20-1-11 / to SW)

The simplest store: a pile of one substance. All wood, tipped on the outskirt ground at the site's S edge (where anything for general use is deposited).
.

GUN SITE: GUN-SITE'S WHEELBARROW STORE
(pic 18-1-11 / to NE)

The next most simple store: a container formed for a single type of item.

GUN SITE: STORE-BOX FOR CARPET
(pic 1-6-09 / to #)
A container supporting a stack of subsequently placed items.

.

GUN SITE: STORE MOUNDS
(pic 1-6-09 / to EES)

.

GUN SITE: STORE OF & IN PLASTIC-BINS
(pic 15-6-09 / to SW)
.

GUN SITE: STORE PLUS COMPOST
(pic 1-6-09 / to NNE)

.

GUN SITE: STORE WITH WHEEL-BARROW
(pic 25-8-09 / to WWS)

.

GUN SITE: STORE COMPLEX WITH BAG-BOX
(pic 15-6-09 / to SSW)

.

GUN SITE: STORE BOX WITH WHEEL-BARROW, TYRE & GLOVE
(pic 21-6-09 / to SSW)

.

GUN SITE: STORE OF COMPOST WITH TWO TYRES
(pic 19-5-09 / to NE)

.

GUN SITE: SMALL STORE COMPLEX
(pic 15-6-09 / to N)
.

GUN SITE: STORE-DUMP COMPLEX

(pic 7-6-09 / to EES)

.

GUN SITE: STORE BOXES AND LOCKED 'CHESTS'
(paste-up 2-pics 19-5-09 / to SE)

GUN SITE: STORE OF COMPOST & WOOD WITH TREE
(pic 15-6-09 / to NE)

.

GUN SITE: FENCED STORE-PILE
(pic [01] 7-6-09 / to #)

.

GUN SITE: FENCED STORE-PILE
(pic [2/2] 1-6-09 / to W)

.

GUN SITE: STORE-DUMP COMPLEX - PALLETS / WOOD / DUMP
(pic [1/2] 15-6-09 / to E)

.

GUN SITE: STORE-DUMP COMPLEX - PALLETS / WOOD / DUMP
(paste-up 2-pics [02] 15-6-09 / to SSW)

.

GUN SITE: STORE COMPLEX (S-FACE)
(pic
[01] 31-5-09 / to N)

This complex of varied types of store-containers and an area for young plant care and preparing paving-bricks has accumulated across the width of a plot.
.

GUN SITE: STORE COMPLEX (E-END)
(paste-up 2-pics [02] 31-5-09 / to WWN)

.

GUN SITE: STORE COMPLEX (W-END)
(pic [03] 31-5-09 / to EES)

.

GUN SITE: STORE PLUS TANK & 'POND-BOWL'
(pic [01] 15-6-09 / to SSE)
.

GUN SITE: STORE PLUS TANK
(pic [02] 15-6-09 / to WWS)
.

GUN SITE: STORE PLUS TANK
(pic [03] 15-6-09 / to NW)

GUN SITE: STORE PLUS TANK
(pic [04] 18-1-11 / to W)

GUN SITE: STORE PLUS TANK
(pic [05] 18-1-11 / to NW)

GUN SITE: STORE COMPLEX (W-FACE)
(pic [01]
1-6-09 / to EES)
.

GUN SITE: STORE COMPLEX (S-FACE)
(pic [02] 1-6-09 / to NE)
.

GUN SITE: VINE-COVERED STORE-PLACE
(pic [01] 13-10-09 / to NE)
.

GUN SITE: VINE-COVERED STORE-PLACE
(paste-up 2-pics [02] 31-5-09 / to N)

A special case: a simple single-volume (albeit very large) open-sided store-shelter, serves a second function: as a frame for a climbing plant. [See below a 'garden-arbour' version of a 'vine-frame'.]

.

GUN SITE: VINE-COVERED STORE-PLACE
(pic [03] 19-5-09 / to WW N)
.

GUN SITE: VINE-COVERED STORE-PLACE - INTERIOR
(pic [04] 31-5-09 / to WWN)
.

GUN SITE: STORE BOX HALF-HUT WITH TWINE
(pic
[01] 15-6-09 / to W)
.

GUN SITE: STORE BOX HALF-HUT
(paste-up 2-pics
[02] 15-6-09 / to N)
.

GUN SITE: STORE-COMPLEX - HUT & TOOL-CHEST

(pic [01] 29-5-09 / to S)
A group of storage containers and plant propagation beds so consciously neat and elaborated with trellis and roses that they almost qualify as 'garden-signage' - eg a 'motif' signifying 'cottage-garden-charm'.

.

GUN SITE: STORE-COMPLEX - HUT, STORE-BOX & PROPAGATION BEDS

(pic [02] 29-5-09 / to NNW)

.

 

.

 

LITTER-STORES

 

Allotments seem the only places where adults can make a mess with impunity - their reason/excuse seems unchallengeable: 'pragmatism' and its essential aspect and context of continual change. Cultivators need easily accessible and yet relatively unpredictable materials to support and respond to the needs of plants, their horticultural experiments, and unforeseeable conditions. This circumstance and availability of open space encourages the accumulating of materials/objects that may serve as practical means/solutions and may provoke Gestalt apperceptions.

 

A dump may be simply the waste product of organised work waiting to be processed, a plot caught in transition, or long-term abandonment.

 

A 'litter-store' is little more organised than a dump, however as a source of improvisational materials it stores potentials. In allotment terms only an abandoned plot left for use by 'weeds' is pointlessly chaotic.

 

GUN SITE: A TEMPORARY DUMP OF WEEDS & WASTE 

(pic 13-10-09 / to #)
The beautiful complexity and phantasmagoric potential of chance - a rhythmical mixture of plant parts and wood litter slightly resembling an 'Arcimboldo type' of profile face emerging from a green fur collar, whose only design was at its inception: the intention to gather and isolate objects of this type and dump them together for ease of transport elsewhere (this is not waste since the plants will certainly be composted).

.

GUN SITE: A TEMPORARY DUMP - LITTER & PLOT -  
(pic 1-6-09 / to SW(?))
.

GUN SITE: A TEMPORARY DUMP - LITTER & PLOT
(pic 13-10-09 / to #)
.

GUN SITE: A DUMP OR STORE ALMOST LOST IN THE GRASS OF AN ABANDONED PLOT 
(pic 15-6-09 / to #)
.

GUN SITE: LITTER ON ABANDONED(?) PLOT
(pic 15-6-09 / to NNW(?))
.

GUN SITE: LITTER-STORAGE CORNER WITH COVERED PLOT
(paste-up 2-pics 31-5-09 / to N)
.

GUN SITE: LITTER-STORAGE AREA
(pic [01] 31-5-09 / to NNW)
.

GUN SITE: LITTER-STORAGE AREAS
(pic [02] 31-5-09 / to EES)
.

GUN SITE: LITTER-STORAGE AREA - A GROUP OF DISPIRATE ITEMS
(paste-up 2-pics [03] 31-5-09 / to NNW)
x

GUN SITE: LITTER-DUMP & SIT-PLACE
(pic
[01] 15-6-09 / to EES)
x

GUN SITE: LITTER-DUMP & SIT-PLACE
(pic [02] 15-6-09 / to S)
.

GUN SITE: LITTER-DUMP & SIT-PLACE
(pic [03] 15-6-09 / to E)
.

GUN SITE: LITTER-STORAGE AREA
(pic-crop [01] 23-3-11 / to N)
.

GUN SITE: LITTER-STORAGE AREA - 'SCULPTURE'
(pic [02] 23-3-11 / to N)
.

 

.

 

SIT-PLACES & SIT-SHELTERS

 

There are six types of 'sitting-places': Fixed seating, 'rustic' (usually slices of tree), seemingly posing as a 'natural excrescence of its plot'; apparently for some open-air social meeting, evoking in plan and rustication a more or less formal convocation of dwarves. An association of an often single seat and pond (a conjunction that seems to connote 'contemplation'). A roofed seat: a one/two person rain shelter. An elaborated sitting area with leisure facilities of a 'home' garden. Formal 'garden' seating - having the air of a 'symbol' or an 'official facility': at bus stop or on palace parterre. A haphazard chair or two for inconsequential resting. 

 

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE ('RUSTIC')
(pic 7-6-09 / to #)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE ('RUSTIC')
(pic 19-5-09 / to #)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE ('RUSTIC')
(pic 1-6-09 / to NW)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE ('RUSTIC') - WITH ARBOUR
(pic 19-5-09 / to NNW)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE ('RUSTIC')
(pic [01] 29-5-09 / to
#)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE ( 'RUSTIC') - AS TEMPORARY WORK STORE
(pic [02] 1-6-09 / to
#)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE & POND 
(pic 1-6-09 / to #)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE & POND ('MINI-GARDEN')
(pic 15-6-09 / to E)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE & POND 
(pic 15-6-09 / to SSW)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE IN TREES ('ORCHARD') 
(pic 1-6-09 / to SE)

.

GUN SITE: SHELTER IN HEDGE
(pic 15-6-09 / to EEN)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE SHELTER IN HEDGE
(pic 28-8-10 / to NE)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE SHELTER
(pic 31-5-09 / to NE)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE SHELTER 
(paste-up 2-pics 15-6-09 / to NW)

View from the bench in a tiny frontless wooden box with just enough roof-overhang to protect me from a downpour; at the hedge-end of an abandoned field-like plot.

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE SHELTER
(pic [01] 9-6-09 / to NW)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE SHELTER
(pic [02] 28-8-10 / to NW)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE SHELTER INTERIOR
(pic [03] 28-8-10 / to NW)

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE SHELTER INTERIOR - BENCH-FACING HEDGE 
(pic [04] 9-6-09 / to SSW)
View from the shelter's bench: a screen from rain, wind and glances of others?

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE SHELTER ('ARCADIAN RETREAT') - SHELTER
(pic 19-5-09 [01] / to NNE)

A plot with an elaborated sitting area continuous with a garden. Its 'rustic' shelter has an open rear 'window displaying the antics of golfers like a plasma tv. Here the idyllic 'isolation' of Gun-Site - a huge container of peace held within its perimeter-screen of trees - is breeched, and so irrelated is the outside that it appears more easily as a 'display' than an alternative real place (especially as the golfers seem completely unaware of this 'other place' beside them.)

 

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE ('ARCADIAN RETREAT')
(paste-up 2-pics [02] 19-5-09 / to NNW)

 

.

GUN SITE: SIT PLACE SHELTER ('ARCADIAN RETREAT') - CHAIR FEET
(pic 19-5-09 [03] / to W)

Plastic containers filled with plaster (yoghurt pots, etc.) shoe the legs of chairs (designed for floors) to prevent them sinking.

..

GUN SITE: TEMPORARY SIT PLACE
(pic 1-6-09 / to E)

.

GUN SITE: POSSIBLE SIT PLACE - SEMI-NATURAL ARBOUR
(pic 15-6-09 [01] / to NW)

.

GUN SITE: 'ARBOUR'  SIT PLACE - SEMI-NATURAL ARBOUR
(pic 13-10-09 [02] / to NW)

.

 

.

 

NEXUS

 

A 'nexus' is an ordered multifunctional complex, often comprising (at maximum) a store, sit-place, tools, plant-nursery, plot for cultivation. An aggregate of the facilities shown above.

 

GUN SITE: NEXUS - PLOT & STORE 
(paste-up 2-pics [01] 19-5-09 / to NE)

x

GUN SITE: NEXUS - PLOT & STORE 
(pic 19-5-09 [02] / to N)

x

GUN SITE: NEXUS - STORE 
(paste-up 2-pics [03] 19-5-09 / to E)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS - STORE: E-END DETAIL
(pic [04] 19-5-09 / to N)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS - REAR STORE-SHELTER & SIT-PLACE
(pic [05] 7-6-09 / to NNE)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS - REAR SIT-PLACE
(pic [06] 19-5-09 / to NE)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS - REAR PATH
(pic [07] 19-5-09 / to SE)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS - SIT-SHELTER-TENT / STORE
(paste-up 2-pics 1-6-09 / to NW)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS - SIT PLACE / STORE / PLANT-NURSERY
(pic [01] 1-6-09 / to NE)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS - SIT PLACE / STORE / PLANT-NURSERY
(pic [02] 1-6-09 / to NNW)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS - SIT PLACE / PLANT-NURSERY
(pic 31-5-09 / to SE)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS - SIT PLACE / STORE / PLANT-NURSERY
(pic 31-5-09 / to NNW)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS - SIT-SHELTER / POND / STORE
(pic
[1/2] 7-6-09 / to NE)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS - STORE BEHIND SIT-SHELTER
(pic [2/2] 15-6-09 / to S)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS & PLOT
(pic 1-6-09 / to NE)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS
(pic 29-6-09 / to NNW)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS
(pic 31-5-09 / to NW)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS - LINEAR WITH FLOWER-PATCH
(pic 15-6-09 / to WWS)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS
(pic [01] 15-6-09 / to SE)

.

GUN SITE: NEXUS
(pic [02] 15-6-09 / to SSW)

.

 

.

 

GARDENS

 

A whole allotment plot may be a garden, or only a designated strip or patch. A 'garden' is recreational and aesthetic - if 'practical' vegetables are grown they may be excluded from the garden portion or planted in an aesthetically considered setting.

 

Firstly, a 'natural' garden where plants are allowed and helped to display and increase their beauty (grown for beauty not meaning) is a branch of practical nurture akin to that of vegetables for their taste - a beauty to be consumed. As an extension of the spectrum of human needs to a point inevitably attained by well-fed moderns it fits the pragmatic value of allotments (however profligate it would seem to their founding users - poor city dwellers).

 

Secondly, 'patterned' plots: aesthetic habits or motif memories creep into some, dictating patterned plans, as if just growing like a plant factory or on super-fertile wildland is not enough for human needs - the ground must be patterned to be possessed.

 

Thirdly, a 'garden of signs' - normally an extension of a house, a private exterior living-room fenced and individualised, a miniature 'palace-park' of pride (or squalor) demonstrating the taste and means of tiny royalty within, via style and product choices that must be, in order to be judged at all, familiar and meaningful to the majority of its tribe. From a base aesthetic of visual precision and tidiness, such gardens select from 'motif-objects' proper to the grounds of palaces: beds of floral beauty, a pond with lilies golden-fish and fountain, sculptures of nymphs, rose-arbours and arches, rocks simulating the sublime, paths preternaturally winding, terraces for reclining entertaining and dining ... all available in diminished sizes, various historical styles, real wood and stone, plastic and cement, at local garden centers or individually crafted by craftsmen. A type of garden whose 'fantastic' character is amplified when transported into a setting of allotment-practicality - appears like a mirage, perfected and planned as if private walled, yet open and public as the vegetable plots around it; neat as a model of a dream of pretend beauty: a statement of a quality that dwells elsewhere than in copies of copies of mere memories of originals rich in meaning for their time and class. The opposite of naturalness - that unique human achievement: a fake.

If the kitsch ideal is purveyed via fakes of mass-valued/stereotypical objects, its accordant aesthetic of visual-clarity epitomises the type of consumerism that seeks total cleanness, resolution and 'closure' - a bastion against the squalor of natural excretion and degeneration. Its ideal environment maintains the clarity and precision of an artificial, indeed industrial, product. On the level of practicality this maintenance requires the hiding of 'waste', and the consumers of the ideal must always deal with this problem: the wastebins at the rear of the concert-hall, the 'back-stairs' of the palace, the neatly contained 'compost', even the 'privy'*. It's clear that the requirements of kitsch idealism are especially unsuitable and difficult to sustain in allotment circumstances of prevailing dirt, let alone the all-round views of ones works, however some attempt it [Ref below: Gardens - type3 - Signage'].

 

NOTE:


1. 
<link> : Richard Rogers' Lloyds building - the ironic exhibiting of excreting as an ideal quasi-industrial process.... in process

 

GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-1: 'NATURAL') - ROSE-BOWER SIT-PLACE
(pic [01] 31-5-09 / to WWN)

.

GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-1: 'NATURAL') - ROSE-BOWER SIT-PLACE
(pic [02] 15-6-09 / to W)

.

GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-1: 'NATURAL') - ROSE-BOWER SIT-PLACE
(pic [03] 15-6-09 / to SE)

.

GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-1: 'NATURAL') - ROSE-BOWER SIT-PLACE
(paste-up 2-pics [04] 15-6-09 / to E)

To evoke 'eden' (a pre-gardening place) the extravagant beauty of cultivated roses must be allowed to spread uncontrollably in order to assert the splendour of a 'wild' reality ... a natural super-abundance !  
.

GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-2: PATTERNED) - WITH ROSE-ARCH
(pic [01] 1-6-09 / to SW)

An example of a 'garden' type, but transitional between a relaxed pragmatism and kitsch formality. The plot has a gratuitous plan, cut by diagonal paths ornamented with rose arches, but the resulting triangular and diamond plots are casually used for vegetables and flowers.
.

GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-2: PATTERNED) - WITH ROSE-ARCH
(pic [02] 31-5-09 / to SW)

GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-2: PATTERNED)

(pic 19-5-09 / to NW)

The most simple division of a rectangle is into rectangles, the next is into triangles. Radii define a centre and a centre has a special significance as "the still point of the turning world" and as the meeting place and disappearance of all paths - so it seems it must be emphasised and its significance modelled !

GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-2: PATTERNED) - NEW PLOT PLANNING

(pic 28-8-10 / to NE)

The problem of deciding the disposition of 'appropriate' shapes when a plot must be planned at its inception! Here the desire for a recreational lawn must be reconciled with the requirement that an allotment plot is at least 60% vegetables. Regions must have shapes, but with no examples and no time for them to be defined by necessary use the only resort is to summon the absolutes of circles and symmetry.
.

GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-3: SIGNAGE) - AN 'ALMOST-GARDEN' PATCH - FENCE & 'ENTRY-GATE'
(pic [01] 13-10-09 / to NE)

A narrow slice of this allotment plot is confined between 'garden-type' trellis-fences, one of which - with its (in this case useless and unused) central gate flanked by rose-bush 'hedges' - suggests the 'road-facing' fence of a suburban 'front-garden'. 
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GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-3: SIGNAGE) - AN 'ALMOST-GARDEN' PATCH
(pic [02] 1-6-09 / to E)

Behind its symmetrical 'exterior fence' this almost-garden dissolves into a desultory sprinkle of casual and formal (eg: hanging-baskets) initiatives.
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GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-3: SIGNAGE) - 'LAWN' WITH FRUIT-TREES & POND

(pic [01] 1-6-09 / to SW)

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GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-3: SIGNAGE) - 'LAWN' POND

(pic [02] 1-6-09 / to W)

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GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-3: SIGNAGE) - 'LAWN' WITH SEAT / FLOWER BORDER / VINE ARBOUR
(pic
[03] 1-6-09 / to WWS)

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GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-3: SIGNAGE) - VINE ARBOUR
(pic
[04] 1-6-09 / to SE)

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GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-3: SIGNAGE) - VINE ARBOUR REAR
(pic
[05] 25-8-09 / to NE)

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GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-3: SIGNAGE) - VINE ARBOUR INTERIOR
(pic
[06] 29-5-09 / to EES)

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GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-3: SIGNAGE) - PATIO WITH STORE-CHEST AT REAR OF VINE ARBOUR
(pic [07] 1-6-09 / to SSE)

The sinister is never far from kitsch - its resort to visual clarity as a sign and substitute for unity and subject definition, far from revealing, gives the impression that something is being hidden and stimulates paranoid associating. 
Note that for an ideal to seem real even the means of its physical maintenance must be hidden, or at least 'idealised'. Here the locked tool-chest is as near 'ideal' as can be realised in these circumstances, a box that on the one hand models the perfection of an ideal solid and on the other seeks to 'disappear', hiding inside its 'average environmental colour' of dull-green (similar to army camouflage) and sharing its clean geometrical pavement 'work-area' with an attention-distracting pot of flowers. 

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GUN SITE: GARDEN (TYPE-3: SIGNAGE) - FLOWER BORDER & VINE ARBOUR IN EVENING SUN
(pic [08] 1-6-09 / to SW)

When the visual clarity of kitsch is softened and confused (as in this case by sun-glare and compositional chaos) paranoia is lulled and a dream such as 'romantic ruin' may emerge.
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AESTHETIC  CONSTRUCTS / IMPROVISATION  AS PRAGMATIC PLAY      ... in process  

 

Improvisation is a mode of 'play' (usually buried under adult dignity) learnt in childhood when surrounding objects could be thought to stand for others: transformed via fantasy, adorned in mental riches, and later reassembled as constructions. Adult improvisation substitutes for the child's 'story' an external pragmatic purpose, and just as a child grabs what's in easy reach to mentally transform it into the furnishings and landscape of a story, the improviser sees a solution to an external need as a potential embodied in a transformation of random surrounding objects.

It is the purest improvisations - the results of a purely pragmatic purpose: the most immediate, economic, insightful, and (ironically) untidied by aesthetic judgments - whose outcome is simultaneously beautiful, visually fascinating, and pragmatic. Their aesthetic aspect is compounded both of a mode of order analogous to the natural (and thus an image of 'evolved harmony') and a fascinating collage of un-related objects forced into cooperation in the service of an overriding practical purpose (and thus a rich field of evocative conjunctions).

The objects shown below are those whose makers' pleasure in gratuitous wit and the adventures of fantasy is a motivation that runs parallel to or even overrides practicality (not however in the way that kitsch does: falsifying meanings and value via quotations from memory [1]) but by allowing (like a child at play) the acts of improvisation to evoke fantasy discoveries and lead their performer through phantasmagoric stories. 

The first two examples below reveal an almost even balance between the two motivations: of fantasy journey and practical solution. In subsequent examples fantasy expressiveness sometimes exceeds the practical.   ... in process  

NOTE :

  1. Re: Kitsch 'illustration' of meanings and value - see previous section: GARDENS- 'TYPE-3: SIGNAGE'

GUN SITE: WOODEN COMPOSTER & SEAT-ENCLOSURE
(pic [01] 29-5-09 / to EEN)
This extraordinary 'monument' conjoins practicality and gratuitous form-invention. The agenda/motivation of its maker seem to go so far beyond a normal allotment's ad hoc accumulation of facilities for work and rest, that I felt it could not be catagorised as (merely) a 'Nexus'. It seems as if an overriding raison d'etre that is 'sculptural', subjective, monolithic, directed its making.
Encircling a quadrant of space at a plot's corner is a giant compost bin: a curved wooden trough, whose inner face, elaborated with 'found' wood and extraneous objects, backs a strip of seating facing a 'forecourt' edged by plants.

It seems made by someone whose horticultural practicality cannot overwhelm their aesthetic fascination with eroded wood, or their 'sculptural drive' to form a personally significant environment.
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GUN SITE: WOODEN COMPOSTER & SEAT-ENCLOSURE
(paste-up 2-pics [02] 31-5-09 / to E)

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GUN SITE: WOODEN COMPOSTER & SEAT-ENCLOSURE
(paste-up 2-pics [03] 20-1-11 / to EES)
This practical-'sculptural' invention of compost bin, seat, enclosure seems unchanged since my first visit, however on subsequent visits there have been gratuitous 'decorative' additions. Its like a jay's nest, bits of 'attractive' material are woven into the practical structure. This time a long orange pipe is curled along and through the whole back row of poles and supports. 
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GUN SITE: WOODEN COMPOSTER & SEAT-ENCLOSURE - NORTH END
(pic [04] 20-1-11 / to S)

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GUN SITE: WOODEN COMPOSTER - SE CORNER
(pic [05] 28-8-10 / to N)
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GUN SITE: WOODEN COMPOSTER & SEAT-ENCLOSURE - FROM REAR
(pic [06] 28-8-10 / to NNW)

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GUN SITE: WOODEN COMPOSTER & SEAT-ENCLOSURE - FROM REAR PATH
(pic [07] 29-5-09 / to W)

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GUN SITE: WOODEN COMPOSTER & SEAT-ENCLOSURE PLUS  TREE-STORE - FROM REAR PATH
(paste-up 2-pics [08] 31-5-09 / to NW)

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GUN SITE: WOODEN COMPOSTER PLUS PLANK-STORE - FROM REAR PATH
(pic [09] 31-5-09 / to SSW)

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GUN SITE: WOODEN COMPOSTER - NORTH END

(pic [10] 29-5-09 / to SE)

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GUN SITE: WOODEN COMPOSTER EXTENDED
(paste-up 3-pics [11/13] 7-7-12 / to S)

In early 2012 the emphasis changed from the 2009 curved composter that supported a seat and helped to define a sort of 'contemplative' enclosure, tucked under the trees at the plot's N-end, to a new apprehension of the extent of the whole plot - a sight that seems to have nourished the composter's trough to quickly grow a long trailing arm that takes possession of its whole length.  

 

GUN SITE: WOODEN COMPOSTER EXTENDED & SEAT-ENCLOSURE CLEARED
(pic [11] 20-7-12 / to S)

The combined composter and seat-enclosure at the N-end is in prosess of being cleared. The whole scheme of wooden structures is changing. 

GUN SITE:  WOODEN COMPOSTER EXTENDED
(paste-up 2-pics [12] 20-7-12 / to SSW)

GUN SITE:  WOODEN COMPOSTER EXTENDED
(pic [13] 14-10-12 / to EEN)
The long and increasingly shallow compost trough now curves down the plot's length and joins a pre-existing rectangular plank-edged bed - drawing a shape like the handle and head of an enormous axe. 

 

GUN SITE: FRANK: CENTRE-PLOT FENCES ETC.
(pic [01] 19-5-09 / to NW)

This person does everything in a spirit of 'pragmatic-play', thus everything he makes (even with minimum attention) is simultaneously practical and aesthetic ... even the hose is held against the plot's perimeter in rhythmic waves across its background mesh of fence (like a gridded graph). Here [unlike the previous example] the 'aesthetic' aspect is in fact an inevitable ''value-added' consequence of a 'play' of very pure improvisational practicality rather than an outcome of what is often patronisingly called 'artistic talent'.
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GUN SITE: FRANK: JUNK-CAGE FOR PLANTS
(pic [02] 1-6-09 / to NE)

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GUN SITE: FRANK: SCARECROW & PLOT-JOINING ARCH
(pic [03] 19-5-09 / to NNE)

This spookily active scarecrow is moved around the plots, always placed in relation to objects that represent a possible task, always in mid-gesture, never a static statue [ref: pic below] and always holding a beer-can: "for authenticity". 

Peripherally glimpsed, this crippled ghost must frighten humans more than birds - forming a phantasmagoric image for a different class of creatures must surely be mostly wishful thinking.

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GUN SITE: FRANK: SCARECROW
(pic [04] 31-5-09 / to SE)

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GUN SITE: FRANK: TWO SCARECROWS (STRAW-HAT & MOP-HEAD)
(paste-up 2-pics [05] 28-8-10 / to NW)

When I first saw these figures I experienced a shock of fear because they did not move. Their postures are so life-like because they imply motion, but caught as if in a stopped film. It seemed, on the deserted allotment with no audience but me, actors had been employed to pose as if in motion but like statues. My 'location interpreter' was challenged and panicked my flight impulse (are birds likewise wired ?!). 

GUN SITE: FRANK: TWO SCARECROWS (STRAW-HAT & HOODIE)
(pic [06] 28-8-10 / to EES)
There were three of these almost-beings, their differing styles of working effort showed not only in their gestures but in every stretch and ripple of their clothes. Note that the posture of Mr Straw-Hat seems different from the rear - having passed and looked back he seemed to have moved, though still as stopped as before - there was a sort of horror there as if at any moment they would begin!

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GUN SITE: FRANK: SCARECROW (STRAW-HAT)
(pic [07] 28-8-10 / to NNW)

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GUN SITE: FRANK: SCARECROW (MOP-HEAD)
(pic [08] 28-8-10 / to EES)

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GUN SITE: FRANK: SCARECROW (MOP-HEAD)
(pic [09] 28-8-10 / to WWS)

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GUN SITE: FRANK: SCARECROW (MOP-HEAD)
(pic [10] 28-8-10 / to WWN)

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GUN SITE: FRANK: FOUR SCARECROWS
(pic [11] 20-1-11 / to EEN)

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GUN SITE: FRANK: TWO SCARECROWS
(pic [12] 20-1-11 / to NW)
Both figures look down, as if seriously concerned with working on the land. Their postures and gestures are forcefully 'intentional':

Straw-Hat: His leg-shadow emphasising the front leg bending) as if in movement; his stretched arm - pulled by the long shovel threaded through the sleeve wrist-strap - seems to reach and grab it, as if intending to swing it to his left side to dig the new mulch he looks down at.

Racket-Face: His flattened trouser-leg is extraordinarily (and coincidentally) like 'cubistic' illustration; his two legs are so perspectively different as to suggest spatial movement; he gestures behind him as if discussing the treatment of the plot.

The figures relate to each other in what seems an intentional composition. The bodies slightly bend towards each other, seemingly cooperative. Straw-Hat's stretched arm and Racket-Face's flattened trouser-leg visually relate from top left to bottom right; Racket-Face's thrust out arm and Straw-Hat's nearest leg visually relate from top right to bottom left. They work together in a visually dynamic arrangement.

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GUN SITE: SCARECROW
(pic 19-5-09 / to NW)

This is a quite different 'scarecrow' to Frank's - it's a 'model' of a thing, not a direct invocation of sensational action. However it is similarly (though not so thoroughly) fright-invoking because, simultaneously with one's apprehension that it is a mere pile of objects, one has an evolved/instinctive response to its body-language 'gestures' and grotesque deformity, which catch our automatic attention and even provoke an empathy that subliminally 'proves' the object is alive. The presence of such a mental split between the phenomenal and subliminal is a scary experience - manifesting here not so much in the direct perception of the external object, but as a sense that ones mind is 'occupied' by it - a kink in ones 'mental facade' like a nudge of madness!
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ODD OBJECTS

 

GUN SITE: WATER-TANK
(pic [01] 29-5-09 / to E)
Via this image our inherent brain-geometry abstracts and displays an illusive spatial parallelogram ! (The string and the allotments' far boundary / the post and the pipe.)
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GUN SITE: WATER-TANK
(pic [02] 29-5-09 / to EEN)

An exquisitely 'natural-in-the-circumstances' solution to an annoying problem: the persistent springing of the tap's pipe outwards from the tank. 

Note how such an un-elaborated solution unambiguously expresses and enables interpretation of its purpose. By leaving its components and their fabrication exposed to empathetic recognition and clearly demonstrating its mechanics via its form, it has become a specific lesson in some general principals and geometry of constructional mechanics and dynamics.
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GUN SITE: MESH CUBE
(pic 1-6-09 / to S)

The (by allotment standards) newness and perfection of this large cube, seemingly carelessly tossed like a lost ball, made its appearance seem 'sudden' !

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< ALLOTMENTS - p1: INTRO & ONE TREE HILL <
   
> Next Section >

 

INDEX  
IMPROVISED-ARCH IN AMSTERDAM INDUSTRIAL SQUATS & COLLECTIVES

ALLOTMENT IMPROVISATIONS  - ONE TREE HILL / GUN-SITE 
IMPROVISED VILLAGES - WANDSWORTH / KEW BRIDGE

VERNACULAR & STYLE - BERDUN, HUESCA   

TEMPORARY-ARCHITECTURE - FRANK'S CAFE / SOUTHWARK LIDO 
"HOME" - MY LOCATION VIA MASS-PRODUCTS 

"HOME" - MY LOCATION VIA PERSONAL-CHOICES 

ART - GOTHIC INTO RENAISSANCE INTO 20thC
ART - 20thC COLLAGE INTO MASS-MEDIA 
GRAFFITI INTO STREET-ART  

DESIGN & CHANCE

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