News - May 25, 2016

Garden of art in front of Impulse

Roelof Kleis

Since Monday a small garden was placed in front of Impulse. This is art. The piece of microclimate should encourage awareness about climate change.

The piece of garden of 7x7 tiles is the newest project of the Laboratory for Microclimates from The Hague. Since 2,5 years the artists Annechien Meier and filmmaker Gert-Jan Gerlach have been making their lab on the road. Together the lab technicians have now set up seven projects at home and abroad. Projects with which ‘people are encouraged to change their own social and ecological environment.’

A microclimate can be anything. As long as it is small and differs from the environment. In The Hague at the Binnenhof the group made a park the size of one tile (50x50cm). The garden at Impulse, a ‘climate proof haven’, is in comparison a huge project. Together with students Anna Luijten (Forest and Nature Conservation) and Iris Keizer (Biology) the meeting spot was laid last week.

Visitors can have a picnic on it, on a blanket which can be picked up inside. Along the side of the grass tomatoes, cucumbers, paprika, basil, parsley and other plants, with which a cheese sandwich can be transformed to an ample healthy sandwich. So you are allowed to pick from the garden. With a small theatre play Meier, the students and ESG-director Bram de Vos already gave the right example. Gerlach filmed it which come online by the end of this week.  

The resting point at Impulse is an artist’s view on the pressing problem of climate change. Wageningen researchers view it in their own way. Such as Bert Heusinkveld (Meteorology and Air Quality), who with his famous freight bicycle with measuring equipment wanted to make the favourable effect of greenery visible at the spot. Greenery makes the environment cooler and more pleasant. However, the demonstration died off in absence of the sun.

The garden is a prelude to something larger. Together with students of Wageningen UR the artists will convert the Esperantoplein in The Hague in a climate square. On the square urban agriculture is combined with water drainage. ‘We want to compare the traditional methods of water drainage from the city to a new manner where the earth solves it on its own’, Meier explains. ‘Everything that we dream, we want to realize there. A place where urban agriculture, play areas, accommodation and cooling come together.’

The plans are still in the developmental stage. In the coming month, Impulse will host a photo exhibition about the previous projects of the Laboratory for Microclimate. In the brochure of the exposition the link is made between Wageningen research in the field of climate change and the problems that this causes in large cities.