From Sowing Confusion to Gathering Knowledge

Marta Konovalov, Jane Remm

Tallinn Botanic Garden, Garden of Senses, Kloostrimetsa tee 52, Tallinn


From October 2023 to March 2024 the boxes in the centre of Tallinn Botanic Garden’s Garden of Senses will be dedicated to deterioration, regeneration and disorderly aesthetics. As part of the Estonian Academy of Arts practice-based research project “Artists and designers as researchers, re-thinkers and partners with nature in the context of de-growth”, designer Marta Konovalov and artist Jane Remm, will use gardening to experiment and make observations about what occurs in nature. With minimal intervention they plan to shift typical ways of functioning and seek ways of being in connection with nature in a garden. In the Garden of Senses, they will sow chaos and observe how plants get wasted, and then how the unnecessary can be a useful resource. Using art and design methods they will document the process and through tiny interventions produce shifts to create nature-based aesthetics, which are often disorderly, interwoven and decaying. They ask how, as an artist and a designer, they can intervene less and move towards a more dialogic, collaborative and horizontal way of working in a world that needs to adapt to de-growth.


Dialogue between what takes place in the Garden of Senses boxes, different gardens and the creative practice and research of the authors

Marta Konovalov aims to gather knowledge, appreciating the value of what is apparently superfluous in a garden, and express respect for resource potential and regenerating textile design. Through creative practice the processes taking place in the boxes reveal the potential of scraps and other apparently less valuable materials. The gathering of information and application of knowledge depends on the resources in the botanical gardens and the local conditions.


Jane Remm focuses on observing and initiating interspecies interactions. Gardens are an environment for very many living creatures; plant blossoms and seeds attract insects and birds, roots grow with fungi, arthropods, bacteria and many other beings. Jane uses drawing and painting to document the significances that emerge from this interspecies social sculpture and aims to present non-human perspectives. She invites you to also use drawing to delve into what is taking place in the garden.


The processes in the Garden of Senses boxes are in dialogue with other gardens and their inhabitants. The results of these processes and the regeneration in the artists’ own gardens will be brought together in an exhibition at the Tallinn Botanic Garden Tropical House from January to February and will develop as a dialogue with exhibitions in the artists´ gardens in Viljandi and Võru County.


Marta Konovalov is a practice-based researcher, doctoral candidate at the Estonian Academy of Arts and lecturer in the Estonian Academy of Arts Accessories and Bookbinding Department. Marta Konovalov’s creative practice centres on textile repair and regeneration. She understands fashion as a way of making, and consumerism and production as a system, which needs to be redesigned and repaired. Repair does not mean restoring something to its original form but the addition of newly recreated layers, which make it possible for garments to continue to live their life and for people, instead being consumers and owners, to be in a relationship with their garments.

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Jane Remm is an artist, art teacher and practice-based researcher. She is a doctoral candidate in practice-based research at the Estonian Academy of Arts, and lecturer in art didactics at Baltic Film, Media and Arts School, Tallinn University. Jane Remm’s creative practice focuses on the representation of experiences of nature, collaboration and communication between different life forms. She is interested in ways of understanding and interpreting the life experiences of other species and by using art materials communicating with them as equal dialogue partners. She appreciates being able to do this herself, working collaboratively and by hand as opportunities to recognise herself as one part of the process and considers sustainable thinking in art as important.

CV:,  creative portfolio:


Tallinn Botanic Garden is a scientific, educational, and cultural institution whose activities are focused on the protection and presentation of the plant kingdom. The mission of the botanical garden is to raise people’s awareness of plants and, more broadly, of ecology, in order to contribute to the preservation and creation of biodiversity. Also, the architecturally high-quality environment of the Tallinn Botanic Garden offers good opportunities for organizing art events as well as just relaxing, and is therefore a suitable place to carry out the project.

The aim of the practice-based research project “Artists and designers as researchers, re-thinkers and partners with nature in the context of de-growth” is to create and develop practice-based methods for communicating with nature, help propagate the idea of intentionally doing less in the field of art and design and through this contribute to the promotion of de-growth thinking, the improvement of natural science knowledge and the importance of inter-species collaboration.


Project: “Artists and designers as researchers, re-thinkers and partners with nature in the context of de-growth” (1.07.2023−31.12.2024). Financial support: The Estonian Ministry of Culture.


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Posted by Andres Lõo