I recently discovered the Green Bronx Machine, which is a project based in the Bronx, started by Stephen Ritz, revolved around growing more greenery for people (school children specifically) living in the Bronx; a very urban and built up environment. He found it increased their graduation rate from 17% to 100%. It made children want to attend school. I have been interested in the battle between urban environments and nature since moving to London, thus this project was naturally of interest to me (also seeing as it is one which raises money/is charity related, which has also been a brewing interest of mine). Below are some photos from this project.
I’m interested in the Green Bronx Machine because it seems to have started off as such a simple idea of planting greenery in the teachers’ classroom, but it escalated vastly and is still doing so. The projects are simple but seem to be getting more and more ambitious, taking on a snowball effect. Similarly, from an aesthetic point of view, they become more and more appealing; I am unsure whether or not this was taken into consideration, but I believe that as the projects gained more and more popularity (through means such as TED Talks), these factors became more important, seeing as so much of the population are drawn to these factors. Using art projects as a way (regardless of whether or not you could call this art) to reach out and directly help the public is very appealing and a very interesting way by which to tailor projects. London is also a very grey and concrete city so I think it could do with some greenery to help people. i.e. on the tube ceilings. This is a beautiful aspect of the Barbican.
It was also inspired by (insert)
Below are my responses.
The idea behind these are to create a contrast between the grass ‘growing from inside the box’ and the mass manufactured box. It was just a very quick experiment, however I think that the idea holds potential. The mass manufactured nature of the cardboard box and the designs lathered onto this box signify our capitalist society and urban environments, while the growing of the grass out of the box signifies a natural battle against this, while also touching on the disposable nature of mass produced items i.e. cardboard boxes. From an aesthetic point of view, i am quite happy with some of the results of these experiments, such as the bottom and those which incorporate the brick wall. However, I think that the photos would be stronger if the cardboard box was positioned surrounded by grass and the grass had grown though it, rather than such an out of place group of grass positioned so randomly inside a box. However, the white of the box does work quite well.
I would quite like to develop these by turning it into a sculpture piece with a collection of boxes through which plants will be “accidentally” growing.
I am rather pleased with the turn out of the photos of the brown leaves growing against the pole; there seems to be a physical tension between the grey pole and the plants, which stands for an interesting metaphor of man against nature in quite a delicate and subtle way which I think works quite well.
The close up’s of the greenery were inspired by Tillmans.