Gardentopia Day 1, community gardens tour of Matera
With the beginning of spring the first Gardentopia Day transformed the gardens of Matera into community places. This marks the start of the second phase of a large-scale project that promotes green culture and active citizenship, also thanks to new collaborations between citizens and artists. The sociologist and historian of Turkish art, Pelin Tan, will be in charge of the development of the project during 2019. The first Gardentopia Day opened in the morning with the creation of the new community garden at Casino Padula, home of the Open Design School in Matera, thanks to the involvement of students and teachers from the IC Padre Semeria school, Don Milano campus, Briganti Agricultural Institute and C. Levi School of Arts. The students were the protagonists of the performance of ‘Evolutionary Garden - 100 trees for Gardentopia’ by the artist Luigi Coppola, activist and promoter of public art projects. With this inauguration, planting began of the first of the 100 trees of many varieties of berries destined for the public gardens of the Basilicata network. In the afternoon the trees were handed over to the representatives of the 22 municipalities of Basilicata that joined the project by responding to Matera 2019’s call to all of Basilicata in collaboration with the regional ANCI, namely Bernalda, Stigliano, Salandra, Oliveto Lucano, Campomaggiore, Pietrapertosa, Irsina, Palazzo San Gervasio, Vaglio di Basilicata, Pietragalla, Montemilone, Lavello, Maschito, Barile, Rionero in Vulture, Rapone, Muro Lucano, Vietri di Potenza, Sasso di Castalda, Chiaromonte, San Costantino Albanese, Castelsaraceno, as well as Matera and Potenza. Planting these trees in community gardens was a symbolic act to start a network across the region facilitated by the presence of artists who will use art as a tool to engage the community. The ‘Evolutionary Garden’ project illustrated by the artist Coppola works on the theme of biodiversity overcoming the idea of monoculture just as thanks to agriculture, plants that have arrived from the most diverse places have become plants that we today consider as ours, having accepted them and integrated them into our territory. A rickshaw and electric bike tour amongst the three community gardens of the city of Matera, each featuring entertainment for the public, livened up the afternoon of Gardentopia Day 1. The Garden of Moments in the Lanera district, managed by the MOM Association - Materan Mothers at Work, hosted the magic show by the Association ‘Lacaposciuc ASD’. At Agoragri there was food design with Cozinha Nomade while in Pascoli, in the Spighe Bianche garden on Via Lazzazzera, there was a performance from the Cantori Materani conducted by Alessandra Barbaro. The tour ended with a return to Casino Padula to participate in a Contini performance and spend the first spring evening with a DJ set.
Coldiretti donated the hundred trees, the hundred bales of hay that marked out the space of the great outdoor amphitheatre of Casino Padula and also the fruit that was given to the participants. ‘Evolutionary Garden’ is a participatory project that wants to create, with an extensive network of collective gardens, an open vision of the practice of plant reproduction, trying to escape the logic of domination of nature, uniformity, monoculture and embracing interspecies hybridisation, fusion, circulation and complexity.