Peering into the enclosure, we see that the fence leans inward at one point, and with a draped tarpaulin it forms a receptacle for water and other materials. It could make a cosy nook for sleeping, too.

A forest epiphyte perches on the branching point of another tree, nourished by the humus accumulating there, without harming the host.

Urban epiphytes such as the ones in these photos are assemblages that grow out of existing infrastructures, extending possibilities of sense pleasure and use value. These growths are simple, made by the people who dwell in the area, using whatever is around. The standardised environment provides the basic building blocks from which more complex forms grow.



Title image:

Xin Cheng
Mountain potato shelter, Kobe, 2016


Chris Berthelsen is in Tāmaki Makaurau (formerly known as Auckland), mostly. He mainly runs the Neighbourhood Negative Emissions and Waste Studies (Neighbourhood NEWS) program in Waipapa (formerly known as Mairangi Bay).

Xin Cheng is an artist based in Auckland. Through her research on everyday resourcefulness and ecology, she has run performative workshops, has published a book collection with Materialverlag and is currently working on a documentary. She regularly writes for Hainamana: Asian New Zealand Art & Culture and has an MFA from the Hamburg University of Fine Arts.