Exploring Venice's 'Garden of Eden': An ongoing feminist, sensory, collaborative art project
Giardino dell’Eden is an ongoing multidisciplinary artistic collaboration by Cynthia Hammond, Kelly Thompson and Kathleen Vaughan that uses sensory engagement, digital images in projection, textile installations and imagination to explore the meanings and metaphoric potential of Venice’s lost ‘Garden of Eden’ or giardino dell’Eden.
Created in 1884 by the English expatriates Caroline and Frederic Eden as a welcoming private space, through the 20th century the Garden passed through hands of magnates and lesser royals before being bought by Austrian artist, Freidensreich Hundertwasser, who let nature reclaim what had been cultivated and tilled. Since Hundertwasser’s death in 2000, this largest private garden in Venice has been locked away, accessible only through archival photographs and texts, literary tales of gay cruising and high society romance, and transgressive acts of guerrilla photography.
Our presentation will explore our May 2017 artistic activities in the public lands and canals adjacent to the Garden, describing both work to date and that to be done. We engaged locals, offered past images and heard current stories, and gestured towards the possibility of opening the Garden to Venetians in the future. Linked to current discourses that claim Venetians’ right to their own city among an overload of ‘toxic tourists’ and a love/hate relationship with the money that foreign visitors bring, Giardino dell’Eden takes a critical stance on international art activities such as Venice’s Biennale.
An on-going project of feminist cultural geography and art, Giardino dell’Eden is supported by Concordia’s Centre for Sensory Studies and Studio XX.
This event is co-sponsored by the Centre for Sensory Studies, the Concordia University Research Chair in Socially Engaged Art and Public Pedagogies and the Department of Art History.
Dr. Cynthia Imogen Hammond is Associate Professor and, previously, Chair of Concordia’s Department of Art History. A feminist, interdisciplinary artist and historian of the built environment, Hammond's research-creation explores the relationships between women, gender, urban and biological landscapes. She has published one book and numerous essays on art, architecture, gender, and the city. Hammond is Lead Co-Director of Concordia’s Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling. .
Kelly Thompson is an Associate Professor in Studio Arts, teaching in the Fibres and Material Practices programs and is the Graduate Program Director for MFA Studio Arts at Concordia. She is active in the Milieux Institutes’ Textiles and Materiality Research Cluster, where her current research-creation project is Material codes: ephemeral threads funded by FRQSC, which questions the digital realm, big data and its fallibility, aiming to make the ephemeral visible and tactile in jacquard woven textiles. kellythompson.org
Kathleen Vaughan is an artist and educator with a trans-disciplinary orientation to questions of place and belonging, and often uses walking and mapping as method and form. She has developed studio-based and collaborative ‘place-based’ projects in Montreal and abroad. Kathleen is the Concordia University Research Chair in Socially Engaged Art and Public Pedagogies, Co-director for the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling and Associate Professor of Art Education.