Copenhagen, Denmark

Black Box Garden

The cultivation of an urban wasteland in the heart of Copenhagen.
Photo: Sebastian Schiørring

Black Box Garden is a project that took place between April and November 2011 at Krøyers Plads, which at the time was a deserted site situated in Copenhagen by the harbor. Berner cultivated a site-specific garden from the existing vegetation and materials found there.

In high season, Berner did gardening work at the site every day and wrote about the day’s labor and experiences in a logbook. She designed the garden according to the growth of the plants and not the other way around, which has the plants adapt to a design. As part of the project, Berner mapped out the diversity of the plant species growing at the site – the most expensive and contentious wasteland in Copenhagen at the time, and she observed the many interests involved around this particular semi-public space.

The list of species collected numbers 92 and represents a ‘Black Box’ of this site, a recording of what took place here and what influenced the development of the vegetation.

Today, the site contains some of the most expensive residential and commercial properties in Copenhagen.

Billedkunstner Camilla Berner
Camilla Berner
Partner: PUBLIK, Contemporary Art in Public Spaces
“The list of species acts as the black box of any site, anywhere. It will give vital information about wind, temperature, the conditions of the soil, the use of the area, and the history of the site. By letting the plants rule and determine the design – in a sense, by letting the plants guide the decisions made – I became not only the gardener of the garden but the servant of the plants. Through this process, thoughts on biodiversity, commons and public space took shape.”

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