462 APPLE TREES

462 APPLE TREES (proposal) —
Growing a Network & Edible Monument.

This long-term initiative transforms the historically charged and uprooted central square of Weimar (former Gauforum) into a living, fruit-producing meeting ground. Instead of pondering on the human tragedy leading up to this vacated monument of power (conceived in 1936) the project invites the the community to reactivate the location in the heart of Weimar by creating room for negotiation and self-organization.

462 APPLE TREES PROPOSAL ARCHIVE:
processProcess Timeline

The name 462 APPLE TREES pays reference to the 462 families who lost their home in 1936 for the construction of the Gauforum in Weimar. It also recalls Joseph Beuys' 7000 OAKS, that set a sample for ritualized planting and utilizing open space socially. In this sense 462 APPLE TREES returns the ownership of the former Gauforum back to the citizens of Weimar.

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462 APPLE TREES

Apple Grove for 5504m2 plaza (64m x 86m) with small-growing 462 trees (18 in width; 26 in length), allowing for 3.5m distance between them.
Encompasses: 462 trees (Malus, dwarf rootstock), 462 tree stakes, 116 lamp posts, office/tool shed, migrant bumble-bee keeper.

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ENGAGING FAMILIES
462 children between 5 and 15 years old (representative of the diversity in Weimar) are invited to participate in the initiative. These children (and their families) commit themselves to tend, nurse and harvest an apple tree over the course of the plant's lifetime. Each family is closely accompanied and supported by a steward who visits on a monthly basis to ensure the well being of plant and participants. An inter-disciplinary committee comprised of professionals, researchers, students and city representatives ensures the knowhow and structure necessary to sustain this proposed program.

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462 APPLE TREES

Lamp Post: Each side of the post corresponds to one tree and is inscribed with the names of family members relocated in 1936 (bottom part, in stone) and the names of the current tree adopters (top part, in wood).
Office & Tool Shed: Facilitates gardening tools, project archive, restrooms, ongoing exhibitions and events.

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462 APPLE TREES was proposed in response to the aptitude test (due March 31, 2009) for the graduate program Public Art & New Artistic Strategies of Bauhaus University in Weimar. The assignment asked for a "proposal for an intervention in public space" and stated: There is a large space in front of the U-shaped building, which, up until now, has been used as a parking lot. Now it has been turned into a green — and empty — medow over underground parking. You have been invited to realize a work of art at this specific site and have money and technical expertise at your disposal. Address contemporary artistic issues in interpreting the location and the context.

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The Imposed Relocation of 462 Families for the Construction of Weimar's Gauforum


Adolf Hitler's architectural redevelopment program radically converted Weimar's city center into a monumental representation of power called Gauforum (regional Nazi center), that consisted of a colossal parade ground and government buildings. The beginning of the construction of the Gauforum in Weimar occurred at the same time with that of the nearby Buchenwald Concentration Camp in summer 1936.


The project distroyed large parts of the northern city center as well as the Asbach green area that created the natural division between the medieval and classical part of the city. Moreover, the gigantic project forced 1650 people and 462 families (home units) to relocate and a total of 139 houses were demolished. Since its completion the Gauforum in Weimar is a manifestation of the dominant power structure which is revealed in the changing name and use of the central plaza:
1936: Adolf-Hitler-Square (parade ground for Wehrmacht)
1945: Karl-Marx-Square (HQ of Russian forces with Stalin monument)
1955: (Nameless) parking lot (civic center)
2005: Weimar Atrium (commercial center with shopping mall)


C R E D I T S
This proposal was made possible with the indispensible insight and expertise from my incredibly green-thumbed Swiss friends Andreas Dreisiebner (Gartengestalter, Seuzach), Doris Meier (Landschafts-Architektin, Zürich), and Reto Pola (Gartenbau-Ingenieur, Stäfa) — Merci beaucoup!