A couple of days before Christmas, we stayed in London for a few days, as we had tickets to see a performance of Handel's 'Messiah' at the Royal Albert Hall. Apart from this breathtaking performance involving The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a choir of 560 voices, and four soloists, we spent the days roaming the city, walking, talking and laughing most of the time. Most of the time we just see where our footsteps take us, but for a while now I had been wanting to see an installation at the Tate Modern by Abraham Cruzvillegas entitled 'Empty Lot'
Suspended on a huge framework of scaffolding, the artist has constructed triangular beds, and filled them with soil taken from different parts of London. Nothing has been planted in them, with the plan being that whatever is already in the soil will germinate, such as weeds etc, and the public are encouraged to scatter their own seeds however they may choose (though I only found this out by researching the artist himself) .
The only problem in my mind is that the whole installation lacks a gardener to at least water what is there correctly. There were clear signs that watering is carried out, but the evidence points to someone simply holding an open ended hosepipe or similar and flooding any new seedlings into oblivion. Someone had also cast an apple into the display.....radical.
While I can understand his concept behind the work, I felt that perhaps it hadn't been seen to completion well enough to meet the initial idea.
Now, back to the title of this post. As I stood with Amanda on the walkway that divides this work into two halves, she asked me what I thought. Maybe a big mistake. As a gardener, I wanted to see each bed planted with either different and well growing crops from around the world (to make some sort of 'arty diversity' statement, or have them all planted with a uniform crop such as chives (maybe a statement about how the worlds crop diversity is disappearing?). The two ideas would certainly be more pleasing to the eye, and thus leave one walking away with a certain spring in their step, rather than feeling disappointed, sad (at the desolation that it portrayed to me) and maybe even angry (at the possible mistake of not getting someone with at least an idea of gardening to water correctly).
Amanda then suggested that maybe the whole idea was to just let it be shown as it is, and maybe even the bad watering was intended. Dilemma!......we had a 'What is art' conversation coming up once again, which continued throughout the day, and still continues now.
What do you think defines whether something is art or not? Please do say whatever you feel, as we need something else to help our discussion.