Kosmos (working title*) is a new summer arts programme taking place at Wakehurst, Kew Gardens curated by Shrinking Space.
Kosmos aims to reinvigorate how we understand and experience ecosystems - shifting perceptions of our natural environment; encompassing the sensory, scientific, intuitional, and intercultural. A central inspiration for the project is the scientific research and inquiry carried out on site at Kew, Wakehurst, and across its global network.
Through this work we aim to inspire visitors to venture off the beaten track and seek out the surprising in this beautiful landscape; from the rarest seeds to the tallest, enigmatic trees; past sundown, and into the wild...
Wakehurst, Kew Gardens, will host a number of interdisciplinary artworks that illuminate our evolving relationship with our planet’s constantly shifting landscapes, and all they contain - from the elements and soil, to flora and fauna.
The overarching theme for the experience is ecosystems, and Shrinking Space is looking to commission an artwork that will explore the sub-theme of Adventure.
Shrinking Space is seeking to commission an artist/s and, or collective (across all disciplines) and designers to create a participatory work for all visitors.
The work will explore the themes of adventure and exploration, and humanity’s role as the adventurer, traveller and messenger - sharing knowledge about the ecosystems that surround us and looking at what being adventurous means in the 21st Century.
“What we glean from travellers' vivid descriptions has a special charm; whatever is far off and suggestive excites our imagination; such pleasures tempt us far more than anything we may daily experience in the narrow circle of sedentary life.” Alexander von Humboldt
What led historic explorers such as Maria Sybilla Merian and Alexander von Humboldt to dedicate their lives to experiencing and communicating the natural world? What drives Kew’s global research at Wakehurst today?
We’d like artists to consider, how the work would:
Give audiences agency across the site and enable playful interactions
Introduce participatory elements to audiences - i.e. via email prior to visit, at the start of their journey on site, etc.
Question who has been afforded the opportunity to play the role of adventurer, explorer, etc.
Evolve over the course of the evening, and the course of the project itself (2 weeks).
The overarching theme for the experience is ecosystems, and Shrinking Space is looking to commission an artwork that will explore the sub-theme of symbiosis.
Shrinking Space is seeking to commission a visual artist, design, and or, architecture studio to utilise the unique Wakehurst landscape and work of the horticultural team to create a large-scale, site specific installation.
The installation will be inspired by universally appreciated ritual of sunset.
The artwork will also take into consideration the negative and positive feedback loops that exist between humanity and the part we play in our natural world. This work will provide a unifying, collective moment for visitors.
"We cannot win this battle to save species and environments without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature—for we will not fight to save what we do not love." Stephen J. Gould
Even though it is widely understood that nothing exists in isolation, humanity continues to extract ‘natural resources’ as though they exist in infinite form. How can art and science inspire us to become change-makers - to adapt and better understand the symbiotic relationship between ourselves and our precious landscape?
Please note the timing of sunset is from 20.57 - 20.46 across the events.
Wakehurst is Kew’s wild botanic garden on the High Weald of West Sussex, with over 500 acres of beautiful ornamental gardens, woodlands and a nature reserve. Wakehurst is also home to the Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild seed conservation project in the world.
About Shrinking Space
Shrinking Space is a non-profit arts collective and production company working across the UK. We develop multidisciplinary projects to foster collaboration between science, arts and culture. We’re driven by a commitment to promote the distribution of knowledge, critical thinking and lifelong learning. Our work is always interactive and aims to inspire participants and audience to encourage positive behaviour change in relation to social justice and environmental issues.