Lost and Found Gardens of Manhattan



Kristyna and Marek Milde, Carpetorium, Lost and Found Gardens of Manhattan, MoCA Westport, 2021
site-specific installation, rescued discarded house plants, carpet, 8′ x 10′ x 8′



Carpetorium, Lost and Found Gardens of Manhattan (2021) is a project that explores the transcontinental connection between tropical and household plants in our consumerist society. The installation consists of a collection of tropical plants rescued from the New York waste stream and planted into an ornamental “flying” carpet.  Carpetorium is a garden and a platform for people to sit and experience the plants up close.

We often use found and discarded material in our work and use it as a resource material to research cultural phenomena. We have noticed that tropical plants are often thrown away because of their size. For the purpose of Carpetorium, we ventured on an expedition into the “urban jungle” to seek the Manhattans’ flora and to collect a number of these abandoned discarded house plants.  

The house plants are often coming from the desert or the understory of the tropical forest, and are fragile and endangered in many of thy original environments. For each plant, we made a botanical sign listing the name and the place where we found it such as Upper East Side, Chelsea, etc., and the place of its origins such as Madagascar. We are interested in the migration process of these plants, on one hand, they are transported from their natural shady tropical climate to the shady and heated Manhattan homes to be consequently abandoned on the streets. The flying carpet is a metaphor for the plant’s displacement due to the transcontinental migration and the disappearance of their natural habitats such as the tropical forests.