<GIPT> The root of the word gift is the Old Norse ‘gipt’ , which means both ‘gift’ and ‘good luck’. A gift is an item that’s given without any expectation of payment.

WORK IN PROGRESS. June 1st – 15th 2019, Tønsberg, Norway

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Robbie Coleman & Jo Hodges are collaborating with Norwegian artist Linn Horntvedt to explore ideas around information, ownership of knowledge and gifting. The artists will create a series of public interventions which culminate in a community build of a temporary public garden at the Rundkirkeruinen site (ruin of St Olav’s church dating from 1180). The garden will be built from an open source design and will cultivate culinary plants that were grown at medieval St Olav’s Monastery for use by the local community.

The project acts as a connector between past and future. In an age defined by issues of ownership of land, information, ideas, even seeds, <Gipt> investigates alternative models of distribution and provokes conversations about what social values and actions may be needed in times of change. As long held notions of society are challenged by climate change, consumerism and the onward rush of technology, will ‘sharing’ become one of the most politically charged words in our vocabulary?

The  <Gipt> garden aims to provide a space for contemporary contemplation as well as for open conversations about future uses of the site.

Project development:
1. Planting seeds for the Garden of Contemporary Contemplation

In collaboration with Per Arvid Åsen (Agder Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden, Kristiansand, Norway) the artists have identified and planted seeds of plants that would have been grown at St Olav’s Monastery. Per Arvid has kindly donated plants for the garden and will lead a walk and talk on medieval plants in July.

2. Seeds of Social Change. Workshops and public intervention

The <GIPT> artists have designed seed packets that contain seeds from the type of plants that were grown in the St Olav’s Monastery garden in the 11th century. The packets also contain information on how to save the seeds from the plants and instructions for social actions that explore notions of sharing and generosity.

Facebook Seed Packet workshop

The seed packets will be given away free and will be left around Tønsberg at places of rest or exchange such as shopping centres, libraries, park benches, bus stops and railway stations. The seed packets are being made in public workshops at the Tønsberg and Færder Library on 1st and 7th June

Images: Workshop Tønsberg Library 7th June

3. The Garden of Contemporary Contemplation

The garden will be built at the centre of the ruin of St Olavs Curch church (built 1191) which is directly opposite the Tønsberg and Færder Library (which contains the monastery ruins) More on St Olav’s Monastery and Church The <GIPT> open source garden will be located on this site of learning and contemplation which in medieval times was a place of privilege. The current library is an open access public building and our garden will be open source and open access which allows us to consider differences between past and present and to also explore ideas around ownership of knowledge.

The garden will be situated at the centre of the ruins of the round church. It will be planted with plants grown by the artists and donated by the local community. There is a seated area inside which will act as a place of rest and contemplation.

The garden is designed by Project 10 and is open source https:// Linn has milled the parts at a workshop in Oslo and it will be constructed at a Dugnad (community activity) before the opening on 15th June.

4. The Flowering

‘The Flowering’ is a choral work which has been created from scores generated by the <GIPT> artists. The scores are the result of a digital interpretation of a number of medicinal and culinary herbs that were grown at St Olav’s Monastery using illustrations from an 11th century medieval manuscript. The illustrations have been digitized and the data transposed into musical notations using specialised software.

The performance will be developed at a day long workshop led by composer Kate Howard ( and is taking place in Moniaive, Scotland. The workshop will culminate in a performance that will be transmitted live over the internet into the Rundkirkeruinen at 3pm on the 15th of June to coincide with the opening of the Garden of Contemporary Contemplation.

Part of the score will be made into a piece for the town bells by Kate Howard. The bells will sound the score on the hour every hour while the garden is in situ from 15th June to 31st August.

If you’re interested in more background information in the thinking behind <GIPT>, here’s the ‘long read’ PDF:
GIPT Background Information

Categories: 2019, Collaboration, Community Engagement, Installation, Interactive, Ongoing, Participatory, Process, Research, Site Specific, Strategy