Christ Church Gardens
Ilkeston Rd, Nottingham NG7 3GS.
When This Tree Blossoms… began in 2018
The first event took place when the artists Frank Abbott and Rachel Jacobs followed the blossoming of the cherry trees in Christ Church Gardens across the road from their studios at Primary. They made a short video message inviting people online to watch the blossom and join them when it was agreed the trees had blossomed. By pointing a webcam on the trees they enabled a debate online as people from around the world speculated on the time of blossoming.
Those local people who heard about it finally met together on Sunday 22nd April under the trees, when they were in full blossom, to talk about the future.
When this tree blossoms this year, in 2020, the Future Machine will appear for the first time in Christ Church Gardens alongside other artistic interventions in the gardens and some animals close to extinction.
Keep watching as Frank Abbott adds his blossom diaries to this website and help decide when we should meet together under the trees to talk about the future… when this tree blossoms. Add to the conversation below your ideas on when, how and what should happen. Our big concern this year is will the blossoms start in February or early March, given how warm and wet the winter has been so far!
‘When this tree blossoms…’ involves a series of videos made in the garden as the tree blossoms, which will be sent out on social media to invite people to the gardens through imaginative or ritual processes. We hope to be able to make this a regular annual event. This involves thinking about series of strategies which relate us to the specificities of the space and the community that we are part of which surrounds it, to develop a series of rituals or moments which enable a process of thinking about the future. Narratives will be pursued which aim towards the bringing together of people in terms which avoid the conventions of inner city urban space – issues of access, surveillance, care and control. Rather, we aim to create an image and curiosity driven approach to this little parcel of land within the city.
When This Tree Blossomed (2019)
We last met under the trees on Friday 5th April, 2019 at 7pm and talked about the future of the project and the gardens, marked the date, ate blossom cake and samosas. As the sun went down Frank took a photo and made a film (coming soon).
They decided to continue the event in the following year creating a curiosity driven approach to this little parcel of land within the city. But the outside world started to press in with its own agenda
The extraordinarily warm winter led to the blossom emerging far earlier, before they had even set up a process of observation. And the horrific circumstances of the terror incident in Christchurch, New Zealand, where Facebook was used to livestream the killing online, soured any thought of an innocent use of remote cameras in public space, particularly called Christ Church.
A few visits to the garden were recorded in Frank Abbott’s garden diaries.
They met under the trees on Friday 5th April, 2019 at 7pm and talked about the future of the project and the gardens, marked the date and ate specially created blossom cake, and samosas. As the sun went down they took a photo and made a film.
When This Tree Blossomed (2020)
We had been preparing to meet in the gardens with the Future Machine – when the the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown started. As we waited for the trees to blossoms, Frank Abbott created a series of video diaries, documented online here: http://christchurchgardens.whenthefuturecomes.net
These video diaries also provide documentation of Nottingham going into lockdown, as well as the two major storms that hit England in Spring 2020. A ‘building a future machine’ workshop with Mellers Primary School also took place just before the lockdown in preparation for staff and students to join us under the trees. Other local residents, artists and audiences connected to Primary engaged with watching the trees coming into blossom by sending photos of the gardens once lockdown was in place and sharing photos of blossoms they could see from whereever they were in lockdown.
We were unable to meet when the trees fully blossomed in the week of the 27th April because of the lockdown.
When These Leaves Fall (Autumn) 2020
Since we were unable to meet in the Spring, due to Covid-19 and the first lockdown we have been exploring ways we can continue our work in Christ Church Gardens. Frank does a daily run through the garden, continuing to film the gardens, the cherry tree and this pandemic year.
We will be continuing this conversation and experiment with a series of connections using remote video in Christ Church Gardens, as the leaves fall from the cherry tree. Artist Caroline Locke will be planting a new cherry tree to replace the tree that fell during the extreme weather in March, she will ring her Tree Charter bell to celebrate Tree Charter Day, to begin a conversation about tree planting and public spaces. Fellow artist Frank Abbott will run past on his daily run, as the bell is rung, and make a live call to artist Rachel Jacobs, locked down in London with the Future Machine.
Frank will receive a future quest and record a message for the Future on the Future Machine, live from Christ Church Garden via the remote video link.
Please join the conversation about when the tree is in full blossom and when the time is right to meet by leaving a reply in the comment box below..