It Grows Like a Strange Flower, participatory durational event (36 hours) and video (45:00 min), 2017
An offsite commission for Bloc Projects, It Grows Like a Strange Flower created a temporary, re-usable geodesic dome (the structure famously reinterpreted by Buckminster Fuller and the utopian community of Drop City in America) situated on a small island on the River Don in Sheffield. With an emphasis on reusing found materials, the dome was designed and constructed with the help of Sheffield-based architectural practice Studio Polpo. Carefully selected individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds helped construct the dome, and then slept there for the night, eating a communal meal made from ingredients sourced from the river and its environs. The dome was deconstructed the following day.
It Grows Like a Strange Flower encouraged and facilitated discussion around the subjects of community and the river. The use of Sheffield’s waterways has been in decline since their industrial heyday and they have been a site of urban neglect; however there is a renewed interest in them as important spaces within the city, and they are now cleaner and abundant in nature. The discussions considered the importance of community within a large city and facilitated meaningful exchanges between strangers. The project therefore aimed to reconnect people both to each other and to the river.
This project was carried out with the help of the River Stewardship Company, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the regeneration of Sheffield’s waterways, and with the full permission of the Environment Agency. It also had guidance from Kelham Island Community Alliance.