The Original T[C]G Proposal

November 12, 2013

“As Yeats said of hearts: “Hearts are not had as gifts but hearts are earned / by those that

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are not entirely beautiful… In Eden, Adam and Eve were altogether too beautiful, hence also heartless. They had to earn their human hearts outside of the garden, if only in order to learn what beauty is, as well as what a gift it is. Through Adam and Eve we lost a gift but earned a heart, and in many ways we are still earning a heart…” (Harrison, 2004:9). Conceptualising The [Common] Garden Continual tensions exist between our desire for territory and our subtle co-existence with the land in which conflict for territory takes place. The Rondebosch Common is a case in hand. Home to the critically endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, it is also framed as a home in a different sense. Over the years the Common has played different roles as a military camp, farmland, and National Monument for recreation. A shortage of available land in Cape Town has opened the Common up to land claims, protests and development, with roughly only forty hectares of

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the original ground remaining today. The 100 Year Anniversary of the 1913 Land Act has brought with it fevered discussion, debate and activism as lawmakers and citizens alike rethink their rights to the land and their ownership of it. Perhaps, as suggested by Robert Pogue Harrison, a ‘vocation of care’ can equip us with new insights into the weighty arguments of the Rondebosch Common.1 The Common Garden is a performative installation in which it is proposed that the act of caring is taken to Court quite literally. By transplanting a square metre of the Rondebosch Common within the Cape Town High Court, the project examines relationships between land and territory through the act of caring. The artists Katherine Spindler, Elgin Rust and Claire Jorgensen propose to install The [Common] Garden at the High Court in Cape Town for the duration of the GIPCA LAND event, thus engaging in conversations emerging from the GIPCA symposium. The work will be accompanied by a paper written and presented by Claire Jorgensen, examining the project as practise-led research. An online presence of the project accompanied by an introduction by Jacqueline Nurse will be available.2 _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 1 Harrison, R. 2008. The Vocation of Care in: Gardens. An Essay on the Human Condition. Chicago: Chicago Press. The garden has long been associated with the origin of mankind (from religious, geographical, and historical perspectives). One of the most well known gardens in religious thought is the Garden of Eden. We were specifically interested in Robert Pogue Harrison’s thoughts around the Garden of Eden in which he writes about what he calls the vocation of care. Harrison describes this garden before the Fall

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as being land that demanded neither to be worked nor nurtured, a gift for Adam and Eve that yielded produce for their enjoyment and contemplation. He goes on to write about their expulsion from the Garden and the subsequent consequence for them to labour and care for the land outside of Eden. Harrison proposes this expulsion to be a gift because we are now required to care for the land, and it is this act of caring that makes us human. As Harrison writes, humans are fully human only when things matter (Harrison, 2004:9). Harrison therefore suggests Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden to be the very thing that led to the humanizing of their hearts. With these thoughts in mind we intend to care for our common garden for the duration of the project. The act of caring is pivotal to our project. Both society and the garden require constant care. As we care for the common garden so the court needs to care for the society it serves. 2 Taking form as a Facebook page and interactive catalogue, the online presence of the Common Garden places the project within the similar space of a online Commons with its equally disputed public/private space.   View_of_well_trodden_path_Rondebosch_Common_24_10_13 tpseedpots.jpg.492x0_q85_crop-smart markers Rondebosch Common Planters A Square of Ground      

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