After publishing the letter from the Palace of Brigades in Tirana, the subject of our fall studio, we recently received a message from the plants and other living creatures of the garden of the palace aka the BEING ALIVE team. This expression of sympathy and call for care and attention was forwarded to us by Teresa Galí-Izard, professor of landscape architecture at ETH Zürich, and her team. We look forward to receiving more messages from people and non-humans who want to contribute to the ongoing conversation about the future of the palace.
“Dear Pallati i Brigadave,
We’re so sorry to hear about your current state of disrepair and solitude. We have been feeling now would be a good time to reach out to you, in a hope to forge a new friendship between us.
Since 1938 we have been living here beside you, and we have taken notice of you. We love the shade you cast in the afternoon on the east side--the sun is so hot in Tirana. Some of us love to grow in your corners, where the rainwater drains and the foundation seeps, some of us love the extra heat on your south wall.
Despite the ways we have evolved with you, we still feel separate. It seems that you think of us as a backdrop, or the frame for a nice view. While this time without visitors has been difficult for you, for us it has been a time of dynamism, excitement and growth. Previously, we had been clipped and restrained very carefully, our stems trained against walls, our shapes contorted into straight lines and hard angles. Now new forms are emerging. While we loved how the gardeners would care for us, and sometimes we miss the order they used to bring, we also felt those forms were just for decoration. Without them, we have discovered ourselves, and have become interested in exploring new trajectories for our shapes and composition. And the weather has been so different lately... Different neighbors have been moving in, and some of our old friends have already left.
We have often been a backdrop for your glory, but in your time of neglect we are taking over. We have become more closely entwined with you and we see the potential for new and unexpected behaviors. Now that things are changing again, what is going to happen to us? Could you tell the people you are working with to think of our potentials? Together we can forge a new partnership for the future of the palace as a community. Can your new friends allow us to be who we are, recognizing our integrity as a semi-wild self-organized community who sometimes misses the care and attention we used to receive from humans? We are waiting...
The plants and other living creatures of the Gardens of Pallati i Brigadave”
Update: Following their thoughtful letter, the BEING ALIVE team send us this gift. Meant to selectively remove branches from a plant and encourage healthy growth, we see this gift as an invitation to think carefully about the role of critical care and creative destruction when working on ideas for the reactivation of the palace and its gardens.
– From: the BEING ALIVE team
– To: Palace of Brigades – Tirana
– Date: 9. September 2020