Fragments of recent weeks’ diary
tranzit. ro/ București
Str. Gazelei 44, sector 4
We host a very small DiEM25 internal meeting. Later this month, in tranzit Iasi there is a Demos meeting. Later on, Demos announces itself as a political platform with electoral aspirations. DiEM25 wants to struggle for the moment with the ideas of restructuring the very establishments of political power. We don’t gain much from hosting such debates, but at least we have better political taste than politicians have a taste for art.
We visit the neighbourhood with Edi and Claudiu. There is no way how to access the Tranzit Garden from the back yard, we are well guarded by the Army and by a series of closed-off private gardens.
Ozana, who’s performing in the play In the Name of the Father, donates some old (but in good condition) windows and doors, which we will use for the greenhouse that V. Leac is planning to build. Later on, she involves the Garden in the play, literally.
Claudiu, who has just left for his residency in Bratislava, makes arrangements for his and Iulia’s project for Amborella, so that it can start even if Claudiu is away for longer. Iuliana and I are now in touch with Mr. Bobric. His name reminds me of Mrs. Bobit, who so kindly helped us with the valeriana for Yuri’s exhibition. There are nice people watching over plants in all the corners of this country.
While some of us are researching the colonial legacy in Lisbon’s exotic gardens, Athena discovers in our Garden a wild asparagus, which she had planted from seeds and forgotten about.
Iuliana welcomes Esther, a Fulbright researcher in Bucharest. Esther is interested in our library and wants to come back (she does). Iuliana has always so much energy for all the new people who are visiting us.
Kiki tries again – unsuccessfully – to persuade me to accommodate a live duck at the Garden, by posting a motivational video about the virtues of ducks that Japanese farmers are using instead of pesticides. Lisbon’s parks and gardens are full of free roaming ducks, geese, peacocks and turtles.
Anca and Arnold make an extraordinary discovery in Bucharest: Pastel de Nata, confectioned locally and as authentic as one can get outside of Portugal. We promise ourselves to try to make it too in the Asimov oven.
Iuliana participates with a small presentation of tranzit’s publications at CNDB’s inauguration of its mediateque, TheResourceCube. CNDB (the National Dance Centre Bucharest) is 20 minutes walk from us. By 2020 it will have a new, permanent, suitable and well-deserved home.
We make pancakes, with Anna. She makes delicious fillings (one of them with Polish apples and cinnamon) and we also have maple syrup topping. Not exactly workers day traditional meal. The crew of In the Name of the Father joins us, then they invite us for the last general rehearsal before the premiere. The play is reconciling contradictory positions on people’s relation to the church and religion, and it challenges spectators to take a step back before rushing into harsh judgements on other people’s beliefs. The Tranzit Orangery looks peaceful and bright. The actors use the kitchen and the Garden, the space is a continuum, life and art melt into each other easily.
Edi, Olivia and Stoyan climb up on the Orangery roof to get a new perspective. They come down with fresh and perfumed elderflower. I almost break my neck when I fall while trying to close a window. Luckily I manage not to destroy Calathea, the plant received as a gift from Salonul de proiecte.
Knut drops by, an old friend of tranzit who used to work for the ERSTE Foundation. We recount memories, including the staging of a clumsy version of M. Abramovic’ The Artist is Present in Alpbach, with (in)famous Sławomir Sierakowski in the role of the Artist, questioned by volunteers from the public mainly on his manly political statements. Those were the days before.
We go to the opening of Cristian Răduță’s fantastic exhibition at Nicodim Gallery. We love all the works but in particular the monumental piece featuring a giant cat, goddess of all cats, which we dream of having as a permanent installation in our Garden.
Felicia and Serghei, the mother-and-son cats that spent the winter with Iulia, are back in the Garden and easily find their spots for sleeping on the Asimov oven. More news about the Intermediary and Sorella (Athena’s adopted cats) soon.
Inspired by Adrian and Irina, we fill the Garden with slices of oranges, in a desperate attempt to save the salads from snails. Offering an exotic feast to the snails proves an efficient method – we are now using the globalization of the markets (oranges are cheaper than apples) in a positive way, to advance into the peaceful coexistence of species.
Iuliana gets as a present a pack of seeds of anti-snail plants. We still need to grow them.
Athena makes a more than perfect elderflower jam.
Edi makes a fire between four bricks so that we can make polenta in a very camping style way. We decide with Adelina to play at the lottery as often as possible. Larisa takes a break from her rehearsals to join us for the meal preparation. Daniela plants some of the basil and zucchini that I got in the morning from Obor market. Thomas Tsang visits us, who has just opened the day before his exhibition at Sandwich. He is fascinated in turns by Corner magazine, Pavel Braila’s Solar Flower, the polenta, the house wine, a tune from Raffaella Carrà, the night slowly engulfing us.
Vlad B. sends us pictures of community gardens from Tokyo. There’s no trace of ducks. The lottery ticket is not winning.
Raluca Voinea, tranzit.ro/ Bucuresti, Experimental Research Station, Amborella Module.
Snails feeding on oranges in the Tranzit Garden
Photo: Edi Constantin