a useless guide to Vartopo and its weeds

Concept and texts: Andrea Popyordanova and Francesca Castagnetti︎︎︎
Ilustrations: Andrea Popyordanova
Publisher: Center for Social Vision / Swimming Pool︎︎︎
Edition of 100
Risograph printed

The project was part of the public program of New Ecologies, Swimming Pool 
‘a useless guide to Vartopo and its weeds’ is the outcome of a collaboration with the ethnobotanist Francesca Castagnetti. 

Challenging notions of beauty and usefulness in our relationship to land and plants this publication is the result of our collaborative work centred around Vartopo, a vast meadow on the edge of Sofia which is neither city nor garden. Published by the Centre for Social Vision the book investigates people’s natural inclination to collect, name and classify, and questions the language we use to talk about plants, as well as the values we attach to them. Loosely inspired by herbaria and botanical field guides, it challenges these formats and the way they mediate our relationship to plants.

The book contains plants in the order in which we encountered them when we entered Vartopo, as well as texts and references, which emerged in our conversations about them and hidden in folded pages in between the plants.

The unfolding cover is a key to how to understand both the guide, the place, and how to use this knowledge to navigate through other spaces.

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