“I only need to step into the small alley in the garden, stroll between the green hills and blue waters, and in an instant, I would feel as if the cacophony outside is of no concern to me. I vanish within the middle of the garden, just as the world disappears into the garden.” – Garden of Mirrored Flowers, Hu Fang, 2010.
I was talking to a work colleague last week about my project at Culpeper. She lives near the garden and knows it well. She pointed out a fundamental characteristic of the site that I’d not considered before: that it is sunken into the landscape and that in order to enter from the street you have to descend – either via stairs or down a sloping pathway – into the space. The pathways and beds are layered, segmented by little stone walls and steps so that you are often walking up and down, moving higher or lower – but it is true that the perimeter fence always rises up around you; looking outwards from the centre of the garden to the buildings around is to look upwards and outwards.
I’ve been working with my double-exposure images this week, thinking about ways to develop them into a screen-based piece. Compared to the sequences of scanned slides – which give a stuttering but fairly straightforward representation of the site – the overlaid projections give a more complex expression, a grainy, patchwork video collage. Zooming in on small details is exciting too – shapes and patterns become more abstract, more evocative.
The images I’ve been testing weren’t made with any kind of sequencing in mind so changes between frames are erratic and random. But nevertheless some sense of movement is suggested as details in one or other image recede or advance in the picture.
I will try out some more thoughtful tests – masking out details gradually, progressively, so that transitions are smoother and longer.