© Tom Stuart-Smith
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IGA Berlin 2017

This was the order of human things: first the forests, after that the huts, thence the villages, next the cities and finally the academies.

Giambattista Vico, The New Science 1725

Vico describes the development of society as if it were a developing organism, growing out of the forest wilderness. We start our garden from an earlier moment; the empty wasteland before vegetation. We begin with opportunistic plants that arrive from seed. Trees slowly start to dominate and then the process of colonisation by animals begins with a network of paths threaded through the vegetation. After that the huts.

The giants and the god of fire make the clearings in the forest cover to feed the forges. So they begin the process of human colonisation. Vulcan, the first forge-master is also perhaps the first cuckold. He discovers his wife Venus and her lover Mars making love in his home. So with construction and habitation comes deception.

The garden begins with seeding an exotic meadow. This is then left to establish for one year. In the spring of 2016 a network of paths are cut into the meadow and several trees of the Stag’s Horn Sumach (Rhus typhina) are planted. Later on a place for people is created in the garden. A concrete wall symbolising the house, a long low bed also made of concrete and shallow iron bowl. The ground is paved with fine gravel except for the area around the built part of which has a stone floor as if part of a previous house.

© Tom Stuart-Smith
© Tom Stuart-Smith
© Tom Stuart-Smith