In three stations on Berlin’s U8 subway line, the New Society for Visual Art presented an art exhibition using the billboard spaces behind the subway tracks. My collaboration with Sara Bouchard, Urban Plant Research, was selected to participate in the exhibition, titled “Glück Gehabt” (“that was lucky”).
Sara and I have been collecting images and observations of plants in urban spaces since 2007. We see these plants, whether they are struggling to survive in the manmade environment, or thriving despite the odds, as a way to start a conversation about how we as humans share city space — and to nudge people to take a second look at their surroundings.
In this spirit, I used the images we had collected to create the U8 Plant Quiz, turning our billboard space into an interactive urban game. We featured photos of six plants that we had spotted near stations on the U8 line with a multiple choice quiz.
People could pass the time waiting for the subway by reflecting on the neighborhoods around the U8 line and try to guess which station each plant was from. They could also go online to complete the quiz for a chance to win the photo of their choice, in keeping with the exhibition’s theme “that was lucky.”
This became the our first of many interactive community projects working as Urban Plant Research. For more, please see our project website, urbanplantresearch.org.