The Garden off Grove, 2021

The Garden off Grove is an outdoor installation screening surrounding the community of Rick Bridgforth’s garden. There are two video projections, one of which is the 9 minute video documentary that inspired the project projected onto a 4’ x 6’ canvas while the other is a 2 minute loop of butterflies flying over the red tulips that bloom in the garden in the Spring projected onto the dirt that fills what is now a blank slate. Additionally, flood lights were utilized throughout the space. One highlighted a sign of the address the garden sat behind, another two were used to light up a tree that sits in the heart of the garden, and the last one emphasized a wooden crate filled with tulip bulbs that read “Product of Holland Hand Selected Quality” on its side. Sound from the video documentary was playing through two loudspeakers in the seating area. The soundscape consisted of the voiceover recording telling a story and was supplemented with recordings of windchimes and other Springtime sounds from the garden.


Throughout the pandemic, and still to this day, I find myself wandering with no specific destination in mind. I believe wandering for many humans is a desperate search for understanding within oneself or the world at large. For myself, I was looking for something to shift myself out of cruise control in a time where the lines between each day were blurred. There was a surge in wanderers in Rick’s garden as a result of the pandemic, and the garden has since become their retreat. I was particularly fascinated by the kindness of strangers in a world where I feel that we have grown particularly sensitive while remaining insensitive to others. Through my time spent in the garden, I do believe it holds a consciousness that is felt through the live plants surrounding it along with the spirit that goes into the space. Plants are in tune with their surroundings, a certain mindfulness I’m sure most people are longing to get a grasp on, which speaks to why people are naturally drawn to the space. My intention was to highlight the beauty in unexpected places while utilizing this experience as a way to give back to the garden community. While the moment Rick and I first met was captured in my documentary video, through this project we were able to establish a connection where I could help him transform the space as it had been unkempt since the summer. I was also granted the opportunity to have my hands in the soil through planting the tulip bulbs, thus assisting in the craftsmanship of how the garden will evolve in the Springtime. Throughout the installation process and the viewing, wanderers engaged with the space with curiosity and care. Some of them even asked me if I was the gardener, to which I replied “No,” but in a way that inquiry made me feel as if I had come full circle.



©️ 2022 by cate duckwall