A lesbian garden.
|The Gesamthof in 2021|
The Gesamthof is an art - nature project in Antwerp between the walls of an old monastery. This garden is inspired by the books by ecofeminists and other writers, like Donna Haraway, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Jamaica Kincaid, Virginia Woolf and many others. They're possibly not all lesbians, but they changed the way to see a garden: a garden can be a place where culture is part of nature and where people care for an ecology where humans are not in the centre.
|The Gesamthof in the summer of 2021|
Because it is a non-human centred garden the Gesamthof doesn't need to be beautiful, it doesn't have to produce food and it's not about giving people more space. It's a place where the soil, water, air, bacteria, protoctists, fungi, plants and animals all have equal rights and people are caretakers. Rewilding within a city can't become a balanced nature all by themselves, the buildings and traffic favour species like brambles, elderberry and buddleia and vacant soil is unable to become diversified without a bit of help. The Gesamthof aims to be an effective ecological safer space, a place where we restore nature while we are aware of what is connected to the soil and botany: the economics of gardens, the colonial past and patriarchal classification of nature. The Gesamthof is a place where by restoring nature we learn to recognize the past and present and how we all have a responsibility in this layered story.
The Gesamthof is a lesbian garden, a place that thinks and exists from a minority perspective on inclusion. Everyone is welcome to visit the garden, this project is focused on diversity in all kinds of ecologies. From my own experience as a lesbian I noticed a lack of representation, not that there wouldn't be any lesbians in the art world (there are lots) but the topic remains precarious and difficult to talk about. The word 'lesbian' is still an awkward word, people don't have an easy association about what this lesbian garden might be. There are many answers to what might be a lesbian garden, but for sure it is not a zoo. This project doesn't mean to label people to fit within a category; 'lesbian' is used in an inclusive way and means everyone who identifies as a woman; trans, neutral, gender non conformed and cis.
|The Gesamthof in 2020, an archipelago of little garden projects.|
Gesamthof is a
garden under construction, it started in 2019 with a botanical
archeology: what life was to be found in the soil? Since then the garden
is botanically inspired and we're working towards a diversity of wild
plants from all over the world. To make sense in the 21st century we
needed to invent our own recipe for gardening, adjusted to the city and
bringing ecology in bite sizes: a Gesamthof recipe.
|The Thalictrum flowering against the shade.|
If you would like to get involved on the
Gesamthof recipe, you can find it in a communal document that allows
your input and experiences. This link leads you to the framapad
Gesamthof recipe and feel free to add your garden ecology comments here:
The Gesamthof ATLAS
|Ecology and wild life protection areas.|
|Rain, sun and shade areas indicate what plants thrive where.|
|Direction of the sunlight, cool and hot areas.|
|Botanical diversity map.|