Olivia Valentine
Metropoliz Future Forest is a collaborative landscape intervention on the edges of the Museo dell'Altro e dell'Altrove di Metropoliz (MAAM), an informal immigrant community and art space in an abandoned salami factory on the periphery of Rome. Working with Firat Erdim and the design collaborative COMMONSTUDIO (Daniel Philips and Kim Karlsrud), we created a large-scale drawing that perforated the existing concrete to make a garden and community piazza.

Interruptions, my series of watercolor drawings based on floor tiles patterns found in Rome became the plan for this large scale drawing and garden. Rather than importing new vegetation for this urban garden and forest, in this project we are also collaborating with the existing ecologies that already occupy the site - the grasses, trees, flowers and weeds that have arisen spontaneously in the decades after the closing of the factory.  By creating a series of perforations and cuts in the existing concrete, we are helping the seeds of these species take root and continue to transform these spaces over the coming decades.

Metropoliz Future Forest  was made possible by a grant from the American Academy in Rome, and support from the Museo dell'Altro e dell'Altrove di Metropoliz (MAAM). Many thanks to Mac Casey, María Robles, Dave McKenzie, Paula Matthusen, Roger Camero, Stefania Tutino, and Adam Kuby, as well as Lukasz Kowalczyk, Leslie Johnson and students from the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology for volunteering their time so generously.