Rothschild Boulevard has always been lined with trees, but anyone walking on Rothschild Boulevard between Bezalel Yafe Street and Yavne Street during the past couple of weeks may have noticed a special influx of greenery.
Lined in the center of the boulevard, this collection of trees is a special site-specific installation by Israeli environmental sculptor, Dani Karavan.
The installation, titled Orchard, was created by Karavan to accompany his recent retrospective at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and was displayed outside of the museum throughout the duration of his exhibition. Orchard is now part of an initiative called Well Houses: Disappearing Palaces of Jaffa which attempts to preserve the historical and cultural importance of the city’s wells.
In an article accompanying the Well Houses project, Karavan asks us to think about what Tel Aviv-Jaffa would be like if we hadn’t destroyed the abundant local orchards and had instead created an urban environment in which the orchards constituted an integral element. He proposes a different version or urbanism – one in which constructed areas and natural ecological environments exist and mingle in the same space.
Karavan chose the location for his installation wisely. Rothschild Boulevard is a thin island of greenery in a stream of concrete, and is a place where many people go to walk, ride bicycles, or play with children.
The old trees shading the center of the boulevard and the many cars and buses on the street itself create a type of hybrid urbanism, and may be one of the closest things Tel Aviv has to Karavan’s proposed model of a city.