The interactive essay “A Small Old Plot” by Andreas Ervik attempts to weave together a series of thoughts on green growing surfaces. It weaves together reflections on movies, video games and memes, as well as materialist philosophy and more-than-human phenomenology, infused with autoethnographic accounts of specific locations of lived experience and perspectives from an eco-oriented artistic practice. The essay does not seek to turn the reflections into a unified field, to be read from start to finish. It offers thoughts as a thicket, a deep surface intertwined with non-linear interconnectivity. The essay is a mood board of overgrown aesthetics, to be read in any direction.
“Andreas’ essay charts out tensions between lawns – these domesticated, normative urban surfaces – and the deep, unruly surfaces created by the vegetation of thickets, moss and weed. One of the compelling aspects of his text is how he plants it upon different kinds of green surfaces, moving across them. This provides fertile ground on which the political stakes of these different surfaces’ formation and habitation come to light.”
“The playful and ‘strolling’ character of the text reminds me of what Andreas describes as the practice of ‘sanke’, the Norwegian word for ‘gathering’. He offers us a collection of green surfaces: lawns, images of lawns, plots of land, thoughts revolving around gardening, vegetation, moss, weed. However, his writing not only gathers fragments, but also overgrows and pollinates their understanding.”
“In a certain sense it has the feeling of a manifesto, as it proposes a need for ways of working against, or beyond, the lawn as a manifestation of patriarchy, capitalism and further types of human violence. ”
“Andreas’ essay opens up to the multitudes of ways to reflect upon surfaces as ambiguous political situations. This might be of relevance with relation to the form of the essay, as a reader might also be invited to repeat the reading of certain passages, through the weave like, non-linear character of its construction.”
“The human urge to control ‘the wild’ is so evident, yet rarely discussed. The text has many ideas and I like the manifold lines it follows; spectrums between maintenance/care and control/withdrawnness – gardening/ownership/leisure/work in relation to political stability or radicalization – accessibility; how thickets make you slow down and how open fields symbolizes efficiency and speed. Another path goes into the lawn as a gendered surface which I think takes on very important socio-ecological issues.”
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Andreas Ervik, “A Small Old Plot,” Metode (2023), vol. 1 ‘Deep Surface’