Botanical Encounter

I-Chen Lai (Taiwan / Germany) and participants from different countries. see their contributions under and become part of the project yourself.

I-Chen Lai was inspired by the book “Codex Kentmanus” from the 16th century that is one of the earliest collections of plant drawings. She collaborates with the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar, Germany, where the book is currently on display. The artist’s idea is to create a contemporary version of the manuscript. She invites people to contribute their own drawings and stories, responding to her question: “What is your most memorable encounter with plants?”. One could follow her invitation online through uploading a photo of a drawing and a text under or on site at the “Garage”. Every upload from the website was printed and shown on papaer at a world map and every work that arived on paper was uploaded online, so that all contributions existed analogue and digital at the same time.

As part of the botanical encounter project, we had a workshop with international students and scholars in cooperation with our partner, the University of Montana (UM) Global Engagement Office and an open workshop in the garden of the sustainability project UM FLAT. Next to drawing plants, we explored the technique of nature printing that was used in part in the “Codex Kentmanus”. For this purpose, we made a simple ink from soot, egg yolk and alcohol.

Today I show you how

Bastain Hofmann (Germany)

Bastian Hoffmann is interested in the medium of online video tutorials. In contrast to these, Hoffmann’s works do not appear to be practical solutions to everyday problems. When he builds a puddle that never dries out or turns his workspace into a sheet of paper, he provides “answers to questions that nobody asked” as he would put it. His works could be interpreted in many different ways. For example one could see it as a subtle comment on how the value attributed to labor often does not match with the benefit that it actually brings to society. However, we would speculate that it could simply be more interesting for the artists to find solutions to problems that are not explored yet.

At the “Garage” we brought one of Bastian Hoffmann’s works to life. Following his video instructions, we built a bike that constantly cycles in mud. The local non-profit Free Cycles supported us with a bike for this project.


Nicolas Vionnet (Switzerland) and Wouter Sibum (Netherlands)

A list of collaborators, participants and supporters will be published soon…

Nicolas Vionnet and Wouter Sibum work together as a duo since 2008. They are interested in urban spaces that carry traces of history, offer hidden potential or just leave you puzzled at the first sight. They create temporary works that can be described as an artistic approach to urban design. They create offers to change the perception and dynamics of public spaces for example by changing and adding elements like fountains or benches or changing colors of surfaces. For the Garage project, we researched different sites in Missoula that could be interesting for the artists.

Vionnet and Sibum chose to work with one of the sites, a niche between two buildings in the Missoula downtown area. The artists were interested in the niche as a unique urban feature in Missoula. They developed a concept for a minimal invasive sound installation that creates attention to the niche and raise awareness for what is special about the urban environment in Missoula. Vionnet and Sibum invite people in Missoula to record sounds that they connect to the city. These sounds are played in the niche in short sequences of 20 seconds to 1 minute. For installing a speaker in the niche, we created a metal box that resembles one of the exhaust boxes that already exist in the niche so that our intervention blends in the unique aesthetics of the site.

The concept was created by the artists based on our exchange with the owner of the building, a person working on site in the city offices and the local authorities.

Clark Fork River 02

Marching band
Door dog park
Threshold Madison Bridge
Basketball pole

River front pedestrian bridge
Clark Fork River
Bonner Park
Rockin Rudy’s