Listening Garden, 2017

Durational performance and curation  

Show and Tell Projects, Los Angeles

 

Listening Garden was a project where my primary role as a 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'. My performance which lasted throughout the one-month exhibition period, was to fulfill the role of the gardener by inviting guest artists to unfold their creative expressions within the garden environment, engaging with the garden visitors by dancing and writing poems for them, making tea for the guests who chose to stay, grooming the plants and and sweeping the floor daily.

The fading and drying out of the hanging plants suggested that Listening Garden was also a metaphor for a living and dying archive of ephemeral lives that entered the garden space. Over the period of one month the garden grew and changed in form by absorbing and storing the voices of the participating guest artists (Kiyomi Fukui, Seek Ceramics/Grace Eunchong, Shea Vititow, Gregory Lenczycki), the responses of the visitors and my actions.  ‘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.