Location: Floating Harbour, North Side, between Bristol Bridge and Castle Park Water Taxi stops (see map below)
Access: viewable from Castle Park and Arnolfini's public programme of boat tours and events. The next set of tours will begin in April 2013. Click here for a full listing.
‘Seeds of Change' is the overall title of an ongoing ballast seed garden project from Brazilian artist Maria Thereza Alves. Between 1680 and the early 1900's ships' ballast - earth, stones and gravel from trade boats from all over the world used to weigh down the vessel as it docked - was offloaded into the river at Bristol. The ballast contained the seeds of plants from wherever the ship had sailed. Maria Thereza Alves discovered that these ballast seeds can lie dormant for hundreds of years, but that by excavating the river bed, it may be possible to germinate and grow these seeds into flourishing plants Working with the University of Bristol Botanic Garden and Bristol City Council, Arnolfini have utilised a disused concrete barge and created a permanent Ballast Seed Garden on Bristol's Floating Harbour, populated with a variety of non-native plants, creating a living history of the city's trade and maritime past. The University of Bristol Botanic Garden team will plant a new scheme plants at the Floating Garden annually. To access the list of plants for our Spring-Autumn 2013 scheme please click here.
The floating garden was designed by German designer Gitta Gschwendtner who worked closely with the artist to create a contemplative architectural space to walk, sit and observe the plants, with specialist advice from Nick Wray at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden and Lucy Empson at Bristol City Council. The derelict barge was transformed with the advice of structural engineers Ramboll, who worked with the designer and Arnolfini construction team to realize the design and Bristol Harbour Authority. Plants are provided courtesy of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden, with the gracious help of their team of volunteers.
Maria Thereza Alves
Maria Thereza Alves is a Brazilian artist living in Europe, who researches social and cultural phenomena working particularly with situations which question social circumstances about what we think we know and who we think we are. Alves was one of the co-founders of the Green Party in Brazil, and later attended the Cooper Union School of Art in New York City. In 2006 she was awarded the prestigious DAAD scholarship (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdients/German Academic Exchange Service). Her work has been exhibited widely across Europe and North America, and she has recently exhibited in the Paris Triennial, Guangzhou Triennial, (d)OCUMENTA 13 in Kassel, the Sao Paulo Biennial, the Taipei Biennial, Manifesta in Trento, the Prague Biennale, the Athens Biennale and the Lyon Biennale where she received the Prix de la Francophonie.
Born in Germany in 1972, Gitta Gschwendtner moved to London in the early nineties to study design at Central Saint Martins, Kingston University and the Royal College of Art. Following graduation from the RCA furniture MA in 1998 she set up her independent design studio in London working on a diverse range of projects ranging from product, interior and exhibition design to public art installations for arts, cultural and corporate clients. Gitta's studio focuses on conceptually rigorous, visually intriguing, functional design across several disciplines. Other clients include British Council, Crafts Council, Design Museum, DuPont Corian, Geffrye Museum, Habitat, Innermost, Mathmos, Peugeot, Purves & Purves, Royal College of Art, Science Museum, Sony, Twentytwentyone, Victoria and Albert Museum and Wellcome Trust.
Seeds of Change: A Floating Ballast Seed Garden was originally commisioned as part of the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration from 21 June - 9 Sept 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.
Seeds of Change - Heritage Lottery Fund
The University of Bristol has obtained funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop the Seeds of Change project for Bristol schools and community groups enabling them to grow ballast seed gardens of their own and take part in a programme of activities led by artists and academics. This next stage of the project is called Seeds of Change: Growing a Living History of Bristol. As partners, Arnolfini will work alongside the University of Bristol Centre of Public Engagement and Botanic Garden to develop the programme with primary schools and community groups across the city.
For further information on the Heritage Lottery Funded schools and community programme please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0117 3318313