corporate hedge, office planter

I work as a gardener one day a week.  My least favourite work is maintenance for corporate office ‘mews’. My most favourite work is gardening under instruction from elderly ladies who are unable to tend their own gardens, so I become their eyes and hands – the more precise their requests, the more I enjoy the work.  Perhaps because I can see my own mother in them, and myself in years to come too.

A dislike of leafblowers – ineffective, noisy, and once you’ve seen the woman in Pina Bausch’s ‘Die Klage der Kaiserin’ wielding one in the woods, you just feel mentally unstable using one – means I do the ‘corporate leaf clearance’ with a rake and brush.  I know this means my employment will not last.

The relationship with ‘nature’ is pretty skewed in these environments: the desired ‘garden’ is static, unchanging, requiring no interaction.  Plants, the ‘green’, are to cover undesirable wall surfaces, soften edges, and provide a structured resting point for eyes looking through the office glass, while decisions are  reached.

Cigarette butts in planter

And box hedging is super popular – visually clear, tapered, cut tight, and coming to a point, it provides a simple clean lined green decoration.

I hear a man calling the Apple helpline with a ‘synching’ problem between his Mac devices, conversations about clients, a person circling one car parking space on a mobile talking slightly too loud, uneventful conversations where everything is happening yet also continually postponed.

And the inevitable natural snack wrapper found behind a planter.

About inquiline

Contemporary artist making live performance, sound, video and digital artworks, with people and places. Often nature is involved. Parks and other urban green spaces and networks are at the centre of my current research interests beside a long term general interest in the meeting points between the human and non-human.

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