To reflect on the ecology and the biodiversity of two sites on opposite sides of London, art and research collective London Fieldworks built a sculptural installation in a two trees in the city. ‘Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven’ consists of several hundred bespoke bird boxes mounted in two trees, resulting in a true urban bird village in the middle of London. The artwork reminds me of MAP Office’s social housing project for crabs, representing on the one hand the Eastern Duncan Terrace Gardens and its Georgian town houses and 60’s social housing, and on the other hand the World’s End Estate adjacent to Cremorne Gardens.
Its creators explain that ‘Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven’ developed out of the Super Kingdom project, a program in which ‘show homes’ for animals were constructed based on the architecture of despot’s palaces. Explain Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson of London Fieldworks, “Super Kingdom can be viewed as a social engineering experiment for animals — a new community in the making referencing despot’s palaces, gated community developments such as Alphaville in Brazil and the fortified exclusivity afforded to the wealthy and super-rich — all designed to keep urban reality at bay”. For this occasion they built a bird village in King’s Wood that was inspired by Mussolini’s Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana.
‘Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven’ has been commissioned for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Islington Council by up projects as part of their Secret Garden Project — a new program of artists commissions and events for secret gardens, lesser known green spaces, and urban corners across London. They will be in situ for three years.