This project explores the unique ecologies that have emerged on the site of the decommissioned dam in the central area of Tamale, through an investigation of the relationships between Second Nature [environments created by humans for exploitation] and Third Nature [the organisms that emerge in a habitat that was transformed/destroyed by the humans]
Set in the broader context of a tree savanna, characterized by the seasonal fluctuations of vegetation and rapid growth cycles, this controlled agricultural landscape intertwines with spontaneously growing vegetation and hosts a myriad of animals and insects. The controlled and uncontrolled layers intersect and merge into each other along multiple temporal rhythms, resulting a variety of symbiotic and parasitic relationships between the organisms themselves, as well as with the people inhabiting the site.
Surrounded by an encroaching urban environment, the site becomes the last biodiversity reservoir in the centre of Tamale – a city in which the urbanisation processes have nearly erased vegetation, except for a few small pockets used for cultivation that are now themselves also under the constant threat of being redeveloped. The applied research zooms in on two specific parts of the territory: the teak forest planted by the Ghanaian government for lodging, and the mosaic of tiny farming fields created in place of the dam. Due to the rapid fertility of the local flora and fauna, both monocultures are constantly being interlaced with spontaneously appearing native species – a second, more volatile, layer of the natural environment, which disrupts the steady temporal rhythm of the cultivated plants. Despite the advancing processes that try to erase them or control them, the local forms of First, Second and Third Nature remain in constant flux, creating a rich tapestry of living organisms, of which humans are only one part.