Contemporary Zen Gardens
2014 - 2015
Just like original Zen gardens were meant to be an abstraction of harmony and transmit this knowledge to their observers, these contemporary versions invite the viewer to engage in a visual and symbolic intervention of empty spaces in the city. Harmony no longer comes with beauty and perfection, and abstract shapes coexist with bold colors, funny, puffy elements, invasive grass, graffitti and trash. The new visual vocabulary is one of a society whose visual values have greatly evolved towards excess and chaos.
The places used correspond to the empty spaces left behind by houses which were demolished and enclosed with barbed wire, excluding the viewer from participation, just as zen gardens did. They are the contemporary, urban opportunities for contemplation, even if what there is to be seen no longer portrays the grandiosity of our ideas about the world.
Furthermore, passive contemplation no longer holds the ideological values attributed long ago by philosophers of greek and buddhist affiliations. Within the context of hypercomplexity, our visual saturation surpasses our cognitive power, and the values long ago given to clean, defined, pure visual spaces are perceived more as unrealistic simulacra of positivist human idealizations. We want to be clean and clear, but we clearly aren't.