Chris Woebken
  Works    Teaching   About
Declimatize, 2018
Long-term botanical installation, 5m x 5m
In collaboration with Sascha Pohflepp 

Throughout the colonial history of plants, thousands of species were transposed from tropical to more temperate climates, often with the goal of making them viable within the agricultural industries of northern Europe. Islands like the Azores with their mild temperatures and high precipitation rate played a crucial role as open air laboratories. In private “acclimatization gardens” botanists were attempting to slowly coax those organisms into thriving in different environments, experiments which mostly failed.

Now, under the effects of anthropogenic climate change, it could be claimed that islands themselves are thrown into motion, uncertain trajectories at the end of which local weather patterns may resemble a different geographical location altogether. In response, we propose a “declimatization garden” that combines the research and knowledge of climatologists, conservationists, gardeners and historians and takes as a departure point the best available simulation model1 for São Miguel Island.

Set in the public Parque Urbano de Ponta Delgada, Declimatize was created as a long-term installation that provides an ecological interface to a number of species likely to thrive in the local conditions described by the simulation for the year 2100. As it approaches, the installation is bound to gradually become reality while at the same time turning into a ruin of the simulation’s inevitable mispredictions, visitable like São Miguel’s eighteenth century botanical gardens are today.

Created for Walk & Talk 2018, curated by Dani Admiss, special thanks to: Isabel Albergaria (University of the Azores), Gonçalo Branco, Luís Brum, Diogo Jácome Correia, Filipe Figueiredo & SPEA and Pedro M.A. de Miranda (University of Lisbon).

Parque Urbano de Ponta Delgada, São Miguel

1 Tomé, R.F.D., Mudanças Climáticas Nas Regiões Insulares, 2013. Assuming a RCP8.5 scenario, employing the EC-Earth model and others.