The project Grün | Zielony (Eng. green) revolves around finding out about plants relevant to the residents of Wrocław and amassing stories about them. We are interested in the city’s history and identity as inscribed and recorded in its plant-life.
Ostensibly neutral, nature is, in fact, a vehicle of quite readily recognisable and interpretable symbolic meanings. Unlike architecture, monuments and memorial plaques, plants rather seamlessly blended into the city’s new, post-war realities. As such, trees and shrubs planted by Germans have survived in Polish Wrocław. The oaks proclaimed natural monuments before the war have retained this status, with an occasional change of the patron. Consequently, trees can serve as witnesses of history and links connecting Breslau with Wrocław.
Many a time trees form the setting of important, collective and individual events. Although we sometimes tend to overlook them, they are capable of arousing imaginations, affecting emotion and triggering story-telling.
The project is an invitation to play with the conventions of conferring natural monument status. The age of the tree and the girth of its trunk do not matter to us in the least. Instead, what we are interested in are personal stories, family memories and anecdotes involving trees.
Do share with us your tales about Wrocław’s trees, both those that are still there and those that are no more. Posting the narratives on the Grün | Zielony project website, we will award the status of personal natural monuments to them.
The project would not have been possible without the dedication and support of:
– Magdalena Kreis – cultural organiser, co-ordinator and curator of the project launched under the WRO Art Center programme
– Beata Maciejewska – journalist and columnist at Wrocław’s branch of Gazeta Wyborcza, author of Amazing Walks in Wrocław
– Anna Rumińska – cultural anthropologist, architect, writer, educator and initiator of the Chwastożercy [Weed-Eaters] project exploring edible, non-cultivated plants
– Prof. Alina Drapella-Hermansdorfer – Professor at the Faculty of Architecture, Wrocław University of Science and Technology, Head of the Department of Environmental Planning and Design
– Dr Iwona Bińkowska – editor of Leksykon zieleni Wrocławia [A Dictionary of Wrocław’s Urban Green] and author of Natura i miasto. Publiczna zieleń miejska we Wrocławiu od schyłku XVIII do początku XX wieku [Nature and the City: Wrocław’s Public Green Spaces from the Late 18th Century to the Early 20th Century]
– Dr Magdalena Mularczyk – researcher at the University of Wrocław’s Botanical Garden
The project’s concept and execution: Karolina Grzywnowicz
Karolina Grzywanowicz is a multimedia artist and designer of interdisciplinary projects. A graduate of Comparative Literature at the Jagiellonian University, she has been awarded a scholarship of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Her work is based on in-depth research and often uses the stories she collects. Her Weeds project, exploring the complex vicissitudes of socio-political history through plants, has been exhibited at multiple venues, such as the Zachęta Project Room in Warsaw, the BWA Gallery in Nowy Sącz and the Bükü in Lepzig, and is now displayed as a public space installation in Warsaw’s Powiśle borough.
Design: Karolina Grzywnowicz, Kuba Rudziński / lekko
Development: Michał Szota / szota.biz
Organisation: WRO Art Center
Coordination: Magdalena Kreis
Grün | Zielony is part of the Eco Expanded City project launched by the WRO Art Center under the City of the Future/Laboratory Wrocław programme within the Wrocław 2016 European Capital of Culture.
Curator: Viola Krajewska
Ab 2017 wird die Entwicklung von Grün im Rahmen des regelmässigen Jahresprogramms des WRO Art Centers in Zusammenarbeit mit der lokalen Greenpeace-Gruppe fortegestzt.