- Ingrid Book
- Carina Hedén
- Creation date: 2002
- Object type: Photograph
Ingrid Book and Carina Hedén trained as artists in Oslo and Lund, respectively, and have collaborated since 1987. Narrative, place, and reality have been important themes in their projects, as primarily conveyed through photos, videos, installations, and texts. Using an investigative and dialogical method, they typically examine various cultural and social phenomena that have often been overlooked. In conjunction with the “Temporary Utopias” exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2003, Book & Hedén displayed a series of photographs from marginal areas in Oslo. The chosen locations present various ways in which individuals have organized themselves to create meaning in their lives and surroundings. Allotment Garden (2002) is taken from this series. With its carefully structured and flourishing garden patch, the small yellow house almost seems to be an obstinate contrast to the large, light-grey block of flats.
An individual garden is a specific example of how people combine hopes and dreams with the tangible and the real. It can also represent an oppositional power that wants to live and act differently, far removed from institutional influence. The garden can therefore crop up in the most unexpected places. The French philosopher Michel Foucault called such interstitial spaces in society “heterotopias”. Such heterotopias exist in between geographical, social, and cultural strata, preserving narratives that might otherwise have been lost. For Book & Hedén the garden is a specific expression of utopia in practice. The utopia is in this regard not something that is distant and unachievable, but that can be a real place where individuals work to fulfil their visions, yearnings, and wishes.