You guys, I’m a university student again! Except this time, instead of being the socially-awkward 16-year old who threw up on herself while being supported to drink illegally on licensed premises, I’m the grumpy old lady who gets excited about going out for 1.5 hours to drink two half-pints, then goes home to complain on the internet about ostentatious architecture, and design festivals in her backyard.
Seriously guys, a few weeks ago some design school set up a cool-looking garden installation at the back of my building (not pictured), in big corrugated iron drums with curved ladders on it, suggesting a certain degree of interactivity, suitably enough for the raggedy aesthetic it projected of being a site-specific community-embedded garden/alotment project. I was excited because Dictator Toddler loves learning from the environment, mucking around in gardens, hunting bees, prodding flowers and veges, smelling herbs and picking up dirt. Then I looked more closely and realised that it was totally inaccessible despite the use of ladders (they were ladders you could not actually reach). You could only look up at the plants as though they were sculptures on a pedestal. So it was not a garden you could be in. Or participate in. Just look at from a distance. So why bother with the radical aesthetic? Right, hipsters? It was just a pseudo-feral corporate decoration. And then at the end, they packed it into a fucking box (pictured) To take it away. It was not a garden. It was potplants. Just seeing it packed in a box like that, transportable, commodified, and out of reach of any human interaction or practical use, just made it seem like an insult to gardens. Naturally it made a great creepy Instagram.
And another thing that made me go grumpy-old-lady. Dictator Toddler has started at the LSE nursery, which has delightful staff but is in an underground building with no real natural light or climbing equipment, because their ‘outdoor’ play area (a sunken basement corridor open to a strip of sky) is too narrow to fit any for health and safety reasons. They do great with what they have, and the Dictator is finally settling in. But then I walked into this building at the LSE and nearly cried. What is this giant cavernous and beautifully lit but uttlerly empty space for? Storage of massive floating red plastic balls of course!