New Immersive Experience Launched at Chiswick House

Multi-sensory audio guide route through the Kitchen Garden

Visitors enjoying the Kitchen Garden. Picture: Chiswick House & Gardens Trust
Visitors enjoying the Kitchen Garden. Picture: Chiswick House & Gardens Trust

{Paradise in the Sun} Or a garden of all sorts of pleasant flowers, a site-specific, immersive audio experience, was launched in Chiswick House Gardens on 19 May.

It is part of an experimental programme exploring the theme of ‘community as health’ from GrowFM, the brainchild of curator-producers Yinka Danmole and Tadeo Lopez-Sendon.

Visitors to the Kitchen Garden can participate in a multi-sensory walking route using an audio guide. Spoken instructions ask visitors to reflect, to lie on the grass, to look up at
the sky and wave at the planes flying overhead, to soak up the smells and listen to the hidden sounds of the garden, to walk mindfully and to fully engage with their surroundings using all of their senses.

The experience is the work of Klasien van de Zandschulp and Dr. Natalie Dixon of Netherlands-based creative studio, affect lab, created specifically for the Kitchen Garden. The say public participation is at the heart of their practice and conversations with members of the Heston West Big Local community group fed into the work, which was developed during an artistic residency at Chiswick House & Gardens.

It is the first part of the GrowFM programme which will featuring new commissions by local and international artists, forming part of the London Borough of Hounslow’s ‘Summer of Culture’.

They also drew inspiration from the original designation of the landscape in 1680 as a pleasure garden as well as the joyful descriptions of the “delights” of a garden in the book Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris by apothecary and botanist John Parkinson, published in 1629.

Grow FM will also be launching a pop-up radio station broadcasting from Chiswick House & Gardens for six weeks throughout July and August.

It will be inspired by the do-it-yourself ethos of the many pirate radio stations that broadcast from the neighbourhoods surrounding Chiswick House & Gardens in the 1990s as well as Chiswick House’s Victorian residents the Tuke brothers, whose radical approach to mental health centred exchange and dialogue as a means of connecting with their patients.

Supported by the London Borough of Hounslow, The Linbury Trust and Arts Council England, GrowFM forms part of Hounslow’s first ever Summer of Culture.

affect lab said: “We’re incredibly inspired by the stories and poetry of the local community and we hope that our work sustains their relationship with the Kitchen Garden. We hope this piece becomes a medium for channelling sensory experiences and invites different kinds of playful participation in the garden.”

Xanthe Arvanitakis, Director of Chiswick House & Gardens Trust added: “It has been a joy to work with Natalie and Klassien who have brought a fresh perspective to experiencing our wonderful Kitchen Garden. Their work is the perfect combination of connecting the history of the Kitchen Garden, engaging our local community in how it makes them feel and producing an experience we can all take part in!”

{Paradise in the Sun} Or a garden of all sorts of pleasant flowers runs Thursdays-Sundays, 10am-4pm, to 30 October 2022.

The experience lasts approximately 20 minutes and includes various sensory and performative interactions with the textures, smells, tastes, sights and sounds of the garden.

Entrance to {Paradise in the Sun} Or a garden of all sorts of pleasant flowers is included in the standard ticket to the Walled Garden which costs £4.50. Chiswick House & Gardens Members go free.

You can book tickets online or pay on the day of your visit.

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May 22, 2022