12 . Buoyant

Buoyant is a winning entry to the 13th International Garden Festival sponsored by the Fondation des Jardins de Métis /Reford Gardens. The festival is touted as a forum for experimentation and innovation. The installation was built in the Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens, Québec Canada in the summer of 2012.

Part of the 2012 set of experimental garden installations, Buoyant addresses the art of the garden through its denial of the modernist construct distinguishing nature from culture that has been a dominant paradigm in architectural thinking. The garden does this through play with the role of architectural infrastructures for growth. It engages the role of the fabricated landscape in the rhetoric of ecological aesthetics by confusing the roles of armature and plant, of maintenance engineer and gardener.

The installation is defined by a buoyant trellis tethered down to a gridded ground plane. This cloud like structure is composed of a set of balloons held by a light weight net. Originally an orthogonal weave, the trellis net is first deformed by the insertion of the balloons. Once established, the plants further change this gridded structure, pulling and pushing with the force of their growth. Not containing rigid structure, the trellis ebbs and flows. The mutable trellis performs in contrast to the ground level. Composed of transparent and mirrored cubes in a gridded shallow pool, the lower level is measured, ordered, and rigid in its form. However, its surfaces reflect the movement and play of mutable elements surrounding it, and it is the anchor that tethers the growing system.

Many Thanks to the wonderful volunteers and staff at Reford Gardens for making this installation possible.