Three Gardens - 三假山
Three Gardens is a concept to articulate a new understanding of landscape within the manufactured realities of Hong Kong and within the global contemporary artifice we live. It is the title of three site-specific installations on the grounds of Oil Street Art Space, also known as Oi!. To understand the three works and the relations between them, we must see the works in the artistic lineage and context of Chinese gardens and landscape painting – both being constructed simulations of the actuality of the wild nature – a construct of reflection and adoration, danger and uncertainty.
Throughout the development of Chinese landscape painting, the meaning of the depicted, and largely constructed landscape shifted from an early universal longing of cultivated men to escape their quotidian world to commune with nature, to a more sophisticated literati understanding of landscape as a metaphor for specific social, philosophical, or political convictions. The three gardens negotiate, extend, and evolve that notion of the constructed landscape – a combination of the two characters 山水, mountain and water. The three gardens work through imitation, representation and transformation, gradually dissolving the perceived physicality of the landscape concept and the associated garden.
The first garden is set in the outdoor spaces of Oi!. In as much as any garden is an imitation of the actuality, so is the first garden of Oi!. The garden’s ground is artificially reclaimed land. The trees and lawns are located where once the shoreline was, about 100 years ago. The buildings were once the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. The intervention consists of four carefully placed stones, completing the first garden – a rockery 假山, of fake mountains – mystical scholarly rocks in the classical garden analogy.
The four mountains are Meta-morphs. Each is made from natural limestone, carved by industrial-scale robot arms based on a 3D-scanned Chinese Scholarly Rock. Each explores the tension between form and aura, man-made objects of perfection and complex, chaotic forms of nature. They are a fabricated metamorphosis of the original emerging through tooling marks – unfinished striations of the fabrication forming a discourse of technology as expression of the brush in the landscape painting. The Meta-morphs are mathematical processes in computer-generated geological formations. They are “emerging” sculpted reductions of the original scanned, articulating the Gestalt within the found and computational – bridging the traditional with the contemporary.
The second garden is an interior garden. It is a collaboration between Tobias Klein and Alvaro Cassinelli. Located within the buildings of Oi!, the second garden is a hybrid between an architectural representation and a sonic simulation. It is an interactive model – an installation in which the audience can explore the relationship between shape, geometry, resonance and energy. This garden takes reference from the dry stone garden concept, where the absence of water is made visible through carefully composed arrangements of rocks and gravel that is raked to represent ripples and waves.
The second garden is an industrial garden made from laser-cut and acid etched steel plates. It is a resonating, ephemeral garden where sand is carried as liquid flowing in reverberating patterns. The second garden is called Cymatic Ground. Combining Art and Science in interdisciplinary collaboration, we created a sonic extension of the landscape as a liquid shapeless continuum, made visible through vibrations. The work articulates the invisible frequencies within each material and shape, where energies brought into harmonies create overlaying vibration, agitation and movement. These natural frequencies show the interplay between geometry and sound.
Like the coastal lines are slowly shaped by the energies carried by the waves of the ocean, the vibrations in the Cymatic Ground uncover the invisible patterns of energies flowing through the landscape.
The third garden is neither here nor there – it sits in between. It is based on physical elements yet itself is immaterial. It is playful and explorative, minimal and mathematical, digital and analogue, site-specific and independent. It is a technological garden – a simulation and at the same time a transformation.
It is a software landscape in the form of an app that allows the audience to collect experiences from the previous gardens to create their own landscape. We walk through the first garden and scan the space narrated through the Meta-morphs; we feel the vibrations of the Cymatic Ground and record the frequencies of the instrument. All input is transformed into vectors and attractors, virtual rocks and pebbles. Our experiences become invisible forces and their relation to each other in a system. They become the artificial mountains in an artificial garden (假山). The third garden is an arrangement of simulated force attractors that allows the visitor to create an infinite amount of reactive landscape systems. In some ways, the disillusion of the landscape being real and physical, is similar to the painting of it, where water and ink construct like pixels as ground for contemplation and reflection about one’s own position in such a constructed landscape.
Three Gardens - 三假山
第二組作品是個位於「油街實現」建築物內的室內園林。這個由簡鳴謙（Tobias Klein）和Alvaro Cassinelli攜手創作的裝置，糅合了建築的呈現與聲音模擬。觀衆可從這個互動裝置中，探索形狀、幾何學、共振和能量彼此間的關係。作品受日本園林「枯山水」的手法所啟發：巧妙布置傾斜的細沙碎石，用以模仿漣漪及波浪，展現園景中本來欠缺的「水」。