For many years, the City Gardens Linz have been helping to fill the dreary, grey halls of POSTCITY, the former postal distribution centre at Linz main station, with life. A lot of greenery, which is growing high above the city in the greenhouses, is part of the exhibition architecture and thus forms the ideal setting for media art. The plants create a strong contrast to the former industrial halls that host media art, robotics and biotechnology during the Ars Electronica Festival, symbolizing the organic in an entirely artificial environment. Plants such as maize and grains recall the origins of the term culture: Cultura, a derivation of the Latin word colere, means building, cultivation, tilling and care, culture means in the German language from the very beginning both the cultivation of land (agricultural cultivation) as well as the “care of intellectual goods”.
But back to the Ars Electronica Festival: several thousand plants are currently growing in the greenhouses at Freinberg, near the Johannes Kepler Observatory, which will finally move to POSTCITY at the beginning of September. Together with the festival’s architects, we have taken a close look at whether they are already ready for their new assignment.
“The plants for the festival must be durable, extensive and robust in order to survive the five festival days without care,” explains architect Christoph Weidinger of any:time. A lot has been tried in recent years, the City Gardens have contributed their inputs and so have the architects. So by 2019, we already know which varieties work well at the Ars Electronica Festival and which don’t. Many colorful flowers, such as the ones below, are rather unsuitable for the dusty, dark, warm POSTCITY. There’s one new addition this year, though, as you’ll read at the end of this article.
The architects Christoph Weidinger and Jürgen Haller visiting the City Gardens to make sure that our plants are growing well.
We found them, our plants! Which varieties are hidden in this greenhouse, which is not accessible for visitors?
That’s right – the plants for the Ars Electronica Festival 2019, which are currently growing on Freinberg in the glasshouses of the City Gardens Linz – in this case grain plants, which will still have some time to grow until shortly before the start of the festival.
The plants on the left are a little younger, the ones on the right are older and therefore bigger. In addition, the grasses also get a pruning in between so as not to grow too high.
In another greenhouse, plants are growing that are otherwise rarely seen in the City Gardens…
… Corn! The plants are still only one meter high at the most. They grow quickly and must not become too big for our purposes.
Jürgen Haller and Christoph Weidinger are satisfied. They inspected the plants critically and considered them good.
Our architects have also come up with an innovation this year: IBC containers were planted with fire beans, which are now emerging from the metal grids, in the centre there are sunflowers rising up. The orange blossoms will add some colour to the POSTCITY at the beginning of September.
The perfect festival architecture including all plants can be seen at the Ars Electronica Festival at the POSTCITY Linz from September 5 to 9, 2019. Consult our website for details.
To learn more about Ars Electronica, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al., subscribe to our newsletter, and check us out online at https://ars.electronica.art/news/en/.