Hedgerow Hyllie, a collaboration between Mark Shepard, Antonina Simeti and Marek Walczak, is a site-specific landscape intervention created for Agrikultura, an international exhibition of public artworks, installations, meals, performances, urban interventions, and events outdoors in Malmo, Sweden from 1 July to 27 August 2017.
Hedgerow Hyllie is a snake-like berm that winds its way between adjacent fields and gardens of the site. The berm is planted with low bushes and trees. In between, local shrubs and other edible plants are placed to form a complex organic ecology. Situated along the berm are networked environmental sensors sampling rainwater, soil moisture and pH level, temperature, humidity and ambient light, as well as webcams monitoring the insects, small mammals and other organisms inhabiting the hedge. These nodes are interconnected via a multi-hop mesh network to a server located in a centrally located kiosk, which aggregates, processes and interprets the data they generate.
Hedgerow Hyllie communicates with people as they pass by and gather around. Ask Hedgerow Hyllie about picking her fruit and berries, and gathering her seeds. She’ll tell you about her insects, fungi, flowers, bushes and trees, about how she shelters small mammals, provides for birds or even fox, deer and wild boar. Visitors engage with her via Twitter, whereby the current ‘state’ of the hedge is expressed through a series of comments by a grouchy yet warm-hearted teacher. The intervention provides an opportunity to engage the urban public, especially youth, in understanding the interaction between natural and built systems, conservation, horticulture and environmental health.