We could take it though the checkout line at the grocery store. Is the garden a product like any other? Is Vita Sackville- West’s well-known White Garden just one more over-advertised commodity?
And what does one do inside a “garden”? What is the appropriate activity? All of these questions address the metaphysical defi nition of “garden” as a bounded space, a commodity, a functional (or functionless) fi eld. And yet, what about beauty? Is that a necessary quality of the garden?
Here, the white shade cloth reveals the plants in the borders outside the garden, as well as the shadows of eight birches (Betula jacquemontii) within the space. The dappled light of the fabric screens, the mottled white bark of the elegantly-spaced trees, the luxury of the crushed oyster shell under our feet, the vibrant colors of the bar code painting (a work of art as well as a sign). So much beauty makes us happy to sit on the woven hawser balls and simply take in the performance of this garden, which we are encouraged to think about but which paradoxically requires absolutely no thought to enjoy.
Rare for being both witty and beautiful, this installation raises questions about the essence of gardens. The curtains of shade fabric enclose the space, thus separating it from the “outside” world of the non-garden. Bar Code 39, composed of recycled plastic lumber, identifies this as Garden Play.