How to think about migration in the midst of one of the largest population movements in recent history, accompanied by wars, destruction, and human suffering? Whether these massive migration waves relate to the movements from Asia or North Africa toward Europe or to the current flood of refugees from war-torn Ukraine toward countries of the European Union, it is becoming increasingly clear that the issues of space, environment, and a safe place for living are becoming the key challenges humanity is facing today. The discrepancy between current politics – stuck within the logic of conflicts, wars, overpowering pretensions, and the primacy of exploitation and domination – and objective changes that will largely shape the future of our planet, is becoming more visible by the day. In these circumstances, can we talk about migration using concepts such are care, solidarity, and collective action as basic preconditions for building a sustainable and developmental living environment? Can we extend the subject of migrations to the domain of ecological awareness and interdependence of the entire living world inhabiting this planet?
These questions mark the starting point of The Garden project that is developing through dialogues between the inhabitants of the Banat village Belo Blato and artists involved in the project. Belo Blato itself is a place of historic migrations where even today more than three different languages are spoken on a daily bases. At the same time, it is a wetland area exposed to floods and natural changes in terrain.
We’ve decided to conceptualize our conversation through the idea of a garden – a place of enjoyment and security. The garden which evolves throughout dialogues as an ideal, desired, lost or imagined place consists of various plants – from tree saplings, ornamental plants, autochthonous species and agricultural crops that are slowly disappearing from these areas. Its development is being described, sketched, translated into short stories, poetry and sounds through the collective work of both locals and artists involved in the project. We hope that this kind of collective work can offer a sketch of a possible alternative through the narrative of the interdependence of all the living world on the planet.