Image credit: Casey Tang, Urban Forest Lab, 2016. Design, Courtesy of the Artist.
An agricultural experiment, Tang’s project leaves a lasting mark deep in the soil of Socrates Sculpture Park. In the fall of 2014, the artist began the process of creating a self-sustaining ecosystem on this small plot in the Northeast area of the park. In preparation for the future urban forest, Tang’s first task was to restore the park’s degraded soil by planting cover crops that inject nitrogen into the soil and aerate compacted earth. Once matured, this urban forest unlike a garden will not require constant maintenance.
At once pedagogical and rehabilitative, Urban Forest Lab will leave lasting, although subtle effects, visible to those who observe with care overtime. For Tang, the undulating organic form of the layered forest canopy offers a plane for contemplation, meditation and imaginative projection and in a similar manner to a Zen garden.