Melanie Manchot The Gift, an artistic collaboration …

FoCG was selected as one of three communities of people from the City  to work with the video artist, Melanie Manchot. Melanie was commissioned by Bloomberg to produce an exhibition in the run up to the opening their new building in Walbrook.

Melanie asked us help create an artwork reflecting what we do as volunteers in the City’s gardens. The other groups who she selected to work with her were students creating electronic music in the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and a group of tailors, working in the City. Her idea was to create The Gift – defined as a cultural activity – not necessarily a physical object – that defines what we do and who we are as givers. The objects we selected or created were filmed on a conveyor belt – like the Generation Game! The film was in turn viewed by three commentators, who were themselves recorded discussing what the objects signified to them. As the commentators were Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum, Susanne Kuechler, Professor of Anthropology and Material Culture at University College London and Roger Robson, Forensic Advisor and Managing Director of Forensic Access, their take on the objects was extremely interesting and unexpected.  

FoCG volunteers built up a vast collection of objects we felt reflected what we do – from birds’ nests to bug hotels, supermarket baskets potted up with growing vegetables to pressed wild flowers, plants grown in coffee cups to rainwater collected in City Gardens.

The premiere of The Gift  was held at the Bloomberg Space on 7 October and continued until Christmas.