'Eat Your Forest: Taste Garden' in DOORS (with SILA, SFIC & MediaCorp)

Prescott, M. (Contributor)

Activity: Community Talks, Presentations, Exhibitions and EventsPerformance/exhibition

Description

The project is an immersive space which explores the relationship of people to nature within Singapore’s heavily urbanised environment. To do so, the research involved a study of the traditional knowledge and customs of a people concerning plants and their uses in Singapore. Edible and medicinal plants within the local context were a specific focus. The work contributes to the landscape architectural discourse on the changing relationship between humans and plants in Singapore as a result of increasing urbanisation.

The taste garden was created by an interdisciplinary team with diverse experience in the fields of landscape architecture, social sciences and interaction design. Through the presentation and discussion of the work with the members of the public over the week-long exhibition, the garden helped surface the disconnect between the public and their natural environment. While Singapore is lauded as a ‘City in a Garden’, the knowledge of the general public about the ethno-botanical value of vegetation—even just one generation removed—is limited.

The work contributes to the discourse by presenting an immersive experience of an edible garden as it might appear within secondary forest areas in Singapore which hold traces of past domestic habitation. The garden was conceptualised as an apartment taken over by nature, and physical associations were made by locating plants in areas which correlated to their use, such as plants to ease stomach complaints and throat infections in the bathroom. This physical aspect to the work meant that the relationship of public and natural environment could be explored through experience and conversation. The garden sought to introduce visitors to lesser-known plants, which have been traditionally used in food and medicine. Interpretive signage was designed to engage visitors, and included information on edible plant parts, plant use, and the taste of each plant.

The team submitted an EOI to Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects, to be involved within the larger “Doors” installation, and later had to secure industry sponsorship for the materials and construction of the installation. The garden was part of a larger installation on the theme of the five-senses, which is a collaboration between the Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects (SILA), Interior Design Confederation Singapore (IDCS), Singapore Furniture Institute Council (SFIC), and MediaCorp. Singaplural 2016 involved over 100 designers and more than 20 local and global brands. The week-long exhibition—from 7th-13th March—was visited by 28,000 people. The siting of this garden within the highly publicised Singaplural exhibition, led to exposure of the work within an international platform.

Period7 Mar 201613 Mar 2016
Event titleSingaplural: ‘Senses: the art and science of experiences’
Event typeExhibition
LocationSingapore, Singapore
Degree of RecognitionInternational