A Brooklyn-shaped garden filled with plants representing the diversity of the borough will soon spring up in Fort Greene Park. Artist Juanli Carrion of the Outer Seed Shadow project has teamed up with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to create a 16-by-14-foot garden comprising a variety of plants representative of the nationalities of local residents. More than just a beautiful spot of green, the temporary urban intervention will serve several educational purposes, from teaching community members about plants to sparking conversation about immigration.
Named after a term used in plant migration, the Outer Seed Shadow project is a series of site-specific public art interventions that use gardens as the springboard for exploring a local community’s identity and geopolitical issues. Carrion launched the first Outer Seed Project, called OSS#01, in Manhattan, where he transformed a barren plaza at Duarte Square in Soho into a temporary green space. He interviewed local immigrants who shared their stories of migration and cultural adaptation on video, and then asked them to select a plant representative of their country of origin. The Manhattan-shaped garden bed was filled with selected plants and used to start a dialogue about New York’s multicultural urban landscape.
Carrion’s second project, OSS#02, in Brooklyn will be carried out in a similar fashion to its predecessor. The artist will interview two foreign-born residents from each district, who will then select plants that can grow in both their native country and in New York; the video interviews will be posted online. Each plant will be accompanied by signage and the name of the interviewee. Carrion will be working closely with the Parks Department to create a planting palette that allows a diverse array of plant species to thrive and coexist together.
The Brooklyn-shaped garden will be installed this May at Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park at Fort Greene Park, where it will stay until October. Once the season is over, residents will be allowed to adopt the plants for free, while the leftover materials will be donated to NYC Parks GreenThumb to create composting boxes.
Images via Outer Seed Project