Listening Garden, 2017
Group exhibition, durational performance, text
Show and Tell Projects, Los Angeles
Listening Garden was a curatorial project where my role as the curator was inspired by ancient scripts that documented the garden practice of zen gardeners in East Asia. Listening Garden was therefore a contemporary translation of the old zen gardens and aimed to give time and space for various 'acts of listening'. As the gardener of the Listening Garden, I invited guest artists to unfold their creative expressions within the garden environment, engaged with the visitors by dancing and writing poems for them, made tea for the guests, groomed the plants and and swept the floor.
The fading and drying out of the hanging plants suggested that Listening Garden was also a metaphor for a living and dying archive. During the one-month exhibition period the garden grew and transformed by absorbing and storing the creative voices of the participating guest artists (Kiyomi Fukui, Seek Ceramics/Grace Eunchong, Shea Vititow, Gregory Lenczycki), the responses of the visitors and thoughts and energy by myself. ‘Listening’ inside the Listening Garden meant ‘paying true attention’ to ourselves and our surroundings. Listening Garden was a transformation of the art gallery into a place for rest, touch, feel, taste, smell and listen without typical gallery limitations. The garden required some attention and delicacy from the audience. In this respect, Listening Garden was also an indicator of social connection and codes of public behavior.