Latitudes / Johann König Gallery, Berlin / Tue Greenfort

Tue Greenfort, Arts & Ecology commission project

Royal Society of Arts, London, United Kingdom, 2005–2008

In April 2005 the Royal Society of Arts in partnership with Arts Council England launched Arts & Ecology, a programme aiming to examine and address environmental concerns in the international arena. Between 2005 and 2010, the RSA Arts & Ecology Centre explored the practice of artists, writers, architects and film-makers through a series of conferences, commissions and publications looking at local and global projects that attempted to communicate, challenge and propose solutions to pollution, waste and loss of natural habitats.

Latitudes was invited to curate a commission for London and invited Danish artist Tue Greenfort to develop a public project focusing on the city's ecological and social systems. Following several site-visits and a residency period in London in 2007 (see chronology of the commission below), Greenfort's project was presented coinciding with his participation in the 2008 edition of Frieze Art Fair projects where his new sculpture was sited immediately outside the exit ramp of the Fair in Regent’s Park.

Greenfort’s sculpture consisted of three 1100 litre standard Eurobins (the familiar street refuse containers otherwise known as “wheelie bins”) whose sides had been cut away and replaced with windows of clear polycarbonate, thus making their contents visible to everyone. It created a grand though rudimentary behavioural experiment in which citizens generated a transparent reflection on consumption, disposability and recent municipal waste incentives, at the point where personal assets were thrown away. Importantly, although the bins were encountered within close proximity to a major art event, they were not visibly framed as art works. No plinth, no label and no sign indicated that they were anything other than functional bins, plausibly located where one was leaving the event, perhaps ready to shed unwanted detritus.

In April 2005 Irish artist Katie Holten and Tue Greenfort were invited to develop proposals. Between 24–27 October 2005 Latitudes organised a first series of site visits around London, which included visits to the blustery 34th floor ‘living roof’ of a corporate tower in Canary Wharf, roamed the desolate Greenwich Peninsula awaiting a 25-year-long regeneration project that will include flagship sustainable housing), visited an industrial recycling depot in Charlton, met up with an organisation advocating tree planting in Kennington, saw several city farms and joined an alternative tour organised by PLATFORM based around the psychogeography of oil.

In November 2005 both artists went on a two-week research trip to Accra, Ghana, together with Dillon Cohen, Mark Nash and the RSA's Michaela Crimmin, where they attended the 'II International Conference on Sub-Saharan Coastal Erosion'.

Between 11–17 May 2006 Latitudes continued site visits in London with Greenfort, and visited the new Idea Stores in the East End, learned about plans to unify London’s 16 waste authorities, spoke to Transport For London about the city’s traffic initiatives, street lighting and the congestion charge, and joined a visit to the Wetlands Centre in Barnes, where Jeremy Deller was developing a house for bats, also in conjunction with the RSA.

Greenfort had a 3-month residency during the Autumn in 2006, a first prototype for his London project was presented in the group exhibition 'Greenwashing. Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities' in Turin.

Greenfort's commission was finally presented in London coinciding with his participation in the 2008 edition of Frieze Art Fair projects (16–19 October) where his sculpture was sited outside the exit ramp of the fair in Regent’s Park.

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