2003 was a beautiful summer in the UK, but demand for air conditioning to cool our globally warming air helped cause blackouts on the Continent and in America.

There is a contradiction at the centre of our relationship to climate change.We have utopian desires but they are undermined by dystopian habits. The natural environment is threatened by the built one. Our love of nature is in conflict with our desire for a modern metropolitan lifestyle with cleanliness, warmth, refrigeration, light, mobility, entertainment and communication.

Our complicity in the contradictions between desires and habits is where the idea of Adaptive Design has defined recent innovations in architecture. How can we work with people’s desires for utopian habitats to unlock the paradox at the centre of our relationship to the fundamental issues of climate change?

The drawings in the exhibition are a series of unique garden plans developed for a range of indoor environments by considering the plants that might thrive in each of the studied architectural and climatic conditions. From Wall-Mounted Gardens for a 7th Storey Council Flat, to a Windowbox Garden for a Revolving Restaurant and a Respiration Garden for a Gym, Kerbel has used the logic of nature to generate a series of drawings that are allegorical and performative. Home Climate Gardens are a meditation on a world marked by increasingly uncertain conditions.

Janice Kerbel’s work often takes the form of a ‘plan’ or ‘study’, and is generated out of the rigorous application and interrogation of existing systems or logics in order to explore the relationship between reality, imagined ideals, and illusions. Recent works include: Bank Job (1999), a cohesive plan for robbing a central London City bank (EASTinternational 1999); 15 Lombard St (Bookworks 2001), an artist book that examines the working of the bank and the plan for its heist in exhaustive detail; Home Fittings (1999–2003), a series of drawings and site-specific installations that propose ways of dealing with the anxieties of the built environment; Home Conjuring Unit (2000), a set of plans for the construction and assemblage of a multifunctional domestic magician’s cabinet; The Bird Island Project (2000–03), a project that explores and develops the notion of paradise over a number of works (www.bird-island.com); and Studies for Small Islands (2003), a series of drawings that imagine the vegetation of a number of fictional islands from a range of habitats to construct abstract realities in scientific detail. Jennifer Higgie discusses Kerbel’s work in frieze Sept. 2003.

Tyndall Centre’s headquarters are located at the University of East Anglia, with regional offices at UMIST, Manchester, and the University of Southampton.

Home Climate Gardens
Full-colour calendar for 2004
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