A medicinal art garden and waiting room in South Liverpool Hospital.
The study of tropical medicine was born in Liverpool. It is a history running in tandem with that of colonialism, international travel and economies of exploration and exploitation.
This project was commissioned to create an environmental artwork; a tropical art-garden, housed in the grounds of the Sir Alfred Jones Hospital in Garston, Liverpool.
The Sir Alfred Jones Memorial Hospital was the first site for a Tropical Disease Unit in the ‘developed’ world. Tropical Medicine has subsequently developed into the study of contemporary global health concerns, from disease to pandemics. It can offer sanctuary from medical, de-humanizing, clinical environments - opening up questions about our contemporary view of nature.
The language of the virus has itself migrated into the language of ideas. Global trends, travel through duplication and replication, and notions of ‘the other’ are challenged through collective intelligence - built by communication networks, international travel, migration and developments in science and technology.
One of the most ancient examples of human cultivation of ‘nature’ is the act of gardening. Through transforming our experience of humidity, light, temperature, sound, smell, feel and architecture, this garden creates a tropical synthesis – a surprising twilight world that will lift the spirit, reduce anxiety and engage the mind, providing an alternative focus to take us to another place.
There are various elements of this commission that make up The Garston Works
Garston Pump, Gina Czarnecki with Lab C (Liverpool Arts and Biosciences Collective)
This sculpture is based on the head of a mosquito and refers to parallel systems in our own bodies and to the circulatory system of plants sits as the centre piece to the garden. The Garston Pump also references the idea of time capsules and the Victorian preoccupation of the collections of anatomical curiosities. The mosquito references links to Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the study of Malaria. The shaft pointing towards the portico (entrance) from the original Sir Alfred Jones Memorial Hospital reinforces the historical influences of this artwork.
The Amber Forest, Chris Watson
Surrounding the sculpture visitors can hear the layered sounds of the The Amber Mountain Forest of Madagascar. Created by award-winning Sound Artist and Recordist Chris Watson, The Amber Forest brings the garden to life with real sounds recorded on location mixed to create an ambience, transporting visitors to a remote tropical rainforest.
Endangered Trades, Gina Czarnecki and the Community Film Screening Space
At the rear end of the garden is circular seating area designed to create a communal area for people to relax and enjoy the space. Above the seating is a light box artwork created by Gina Endangered Trades. The artwork was created by working with local traders, taking photographs of their hands. They are all skilled professionals based in South Liverpool with generations of accumulated knowledge and their daily work is reflected in their hands. The work asks the question, are we losing this sense of community, and the skills and knowledge with the rapid growth of large supermarkets?
Rotters by Gina Czarnecki and Sam Meech working with Rotters Community Composting.
Liverpool Botanical Collection
The planting in the garden uses sub-tropical species from Liverpool's Botanical Collection, one of the largest plant collections in municipal ownership. Liverpool City Council has kindly donated some of the plants. It is one of the oldest plant collections in the country, dating back over two hundred years. Liverpool City Council manages the collection and since the closure of the last Botanical Garden over 25 years ago only a limited number of plants have been on public display at Croxteth Park and Sefton Park Palm House. Representatives from the indoor collections can be seen inside the atrium of the Health Centre within the large planters.
The Garston Works wascommissioned by FACT and Liverpool City Council in partnership with Liverpool and Sefton Health Partnership and Liverpool PCT.
Gina Czarnecki is supported by the Wellcome Trust.
Sculpture based on the mosquito proboscis, set into the ground of the garden like a time capsule. It points directly to the last surviving vestige of the old building – the portico and contains references to organic, plant, human, microscopic and machine.
Panoramic soundscape created using Chris Watson's archive collections of rain forests from around the world. Composed specifically for the garden to accompany ‘Pump’ in a seamless 42-minute loop surrounding the central sculpture.
Hands of ‘endangered traders’, local to South Liverpool, shows evolution of form over a lifetime.This piece is based on dying knowledge through supermarket shopping and mass-consumption.
250cm x 50cm lightbox
A community film by Gina Czarnecki and Sam Meech documenting the Rotters Composting Group