constructing a woods for wandering in space and time
Into the Woods, winner of the Prix de la Création at the 2018 Festival international des jardins de Chaumont-sur-Loire, confronts visitors with an important decision to turn left or right onto a forking path drawing them towards an unknown destination beyond view. In either direction, as if to mock the effort of determining a direction, the path leads to another crossroads and then another until it becomes clear that the paths are all folding in on one another.
Cedar wood balance beams form a secondary maze through the grove, beckoning children and adventurous adults to step off the path and venture into a network of narrow passageways. Shou sugi ban, the Japanese process of charring cedar to increase its lifespan, is used to create a stark contrast between the blackened beams and the bright gravel pathways through the garden.
Into the Woods is inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’s 1941 novel, The Garden of Forking Paths, in which the narrator adventures through interconnected realities, “an infinite series of times, a growing, dizzying web of divergent, convergent and parallel times.” A garden, like a novel, is a space in which to get lost, and in being lost, to find oneself. At its inception, a garden holds multiple divergent futures. If we look closely, we can see past and future compressed in the present moment. In the dynamic space of the garden, we discover the infinite possibility of perpetual becoming.
In collaboration with FORGE Landscape Architecture.