Gardens & Shelter

The following photo series, Gardens and Shelter, both by Henk Wildschut, illustrate the construction of domestic space for a limited and uncertain time lapse. Its fate at a micro-scale relies not on personal choice but on international law being applied to these extraterritorial settlements. These spaces are constructed by dwellers who know that they will leave them behind sooner or later.

The authors of the temporary gardens outside the tents of the Shousha Refugee Camp await for a decision by the UNHCR that prolongs their stay in the camp or returns them back to their country of origin. The authors of the temporary shelters in an area of Calais, France, known as The Jungle, await for the great crossing of the strait to make a life in Britain. If dwellers of the ‘formal’ tents use blue UN corporate plastics and empty bottles of water as available building materials, the ‘invisible’ dwellers of the tents in the French woods resort to urban waste, such as old clothes and market-plastics. The former scape from war and are housed in a military settlement. The latter seek to enter the consumerist dream and have to house themselves with the remnants of Lidl carrier bags. Both seem to be trapped in the materiality of the conflict they are trying to scape.

How should the UN deal with domesticity in the camps?  Could the ‘irregular’ waiting camps at European border crossings become humanized?

How comfortable or uncomfortable needs to be a transitory place to legitimize its permanence?



[images via Obsessive Collectors]




Gardens Photo Series, by Henk Wildschut 2011. Shousha Refugee Camp, Tunisian-Lybian border.





Shelter Photo Series, by Henk Wildschut 2006-2009. Tents built by dwellers awaiting to get to Britain in Calais, France.



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