electric re::view #14 - June 2021
[from the STUDIO archive and recommendations]

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I am delighted to have been asked to Guest Edit the electricbackroom STUDIO Review.

When first asked in March 2021 I had the germ of an idea – which was part of my response to the end of the first year of Lockdown.

Throughout Covid Year 1, I turned to the environment and the process of growing things as a way of getting through such disturbing and unpredictable times.

My allotment in particular has provided me with a haven of “normality” where seasons, routine tasks, successes and failures, all went on as they had before.

I wondered how others elsewhere might be faring and managed to contact Petra Zwaka, who has a Schrebergarten in Berlin. Many thanks to electricbackroom Associate Artist, Eva Fahle Clouts for putting us in touch.

Schrebergärten are similar to our UK allotments, in providing spaces for people to grow their own produce and get out of the city. They originated from an idea by a Dr Schreber in the 1800s, to enable city dwellers to have an outdoor space for their families to get fresh air and exercise. Many of the Schrebergarten have little “dwellings” on them so that overnight stays are also possible – a bit of a step-up from our UK Sheds!

I have made 2 parallel pieces.

Schrebergarten, Berlin 2021 - uses stills and video footage that Petra sent me as well as her written response to the Pandemic and how her space has helped her.


Allotment UK 2021 - is about my allotment in Spring, the sights and sounds, trying to capture the atmosphere of an early Spring Day.


Mandy Rathbone
electricbackroom STUDIO
May 2021


Allotment Soup: the Isle of Walney Community Growing Space (2021)
Barrow-in-Furness LA14 3XX, UK


'sound fishing' with Adrian Newton and David Rogers (2021)
(Bournemouth Emerging Arts Fringe 26 & 27 June 2021)

Track of the month:

Nightingales and Beatrice Harrison (1927)

Nightingales and Beatrice Harrison playing "Songs my mother taught me" (Dvo?ák). Live recording in in the wooded garden of Beatrice's cottage in Oxted, Surrey, May 3 1927.


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