Private Garden is an interactive installation which projects computer generated and processed garden visuals onto the surface of a bed. Visitors can lie in the bed and interact with the projected garden visuals and ambient sound with their body movement.
I’ve loved gardens since I was a kid. Whenever I’m stressed or sad, I would always go for a walk in the garden. Sitting in the garden, reading some books, or just listening to the birds will make me feel better. I also love to hangout with friends in the garden, we would chat, laugh, eat and have a good time.
The year 2020 in which the covid pandemic started was an emotionally difficult time for everyone. During the quarantine, I noticed that I started to spend more and more time in my bed. Some days were particularly stressful and I would just lie in bed all day, trying to escape from reality. On other cheerful days I would sometimes sit on the bed in pyjamas, facetime with friends, read books and listen to music. I realised that the bed has become an intimate and versatile place for me. It accompanied me through all my highs and lows and It almost feels like I had a garden in my bedroom. This resemblance inspired me to develop Private Garden.
Traditional Chinese garden and generative neural network
I was born in Suzhou, a city famous for traditional Chinese gardens. Unlike Italian or French gardens, traditional Chinese gardens cannot be fully experienced within a single glance. You have to discover the garden following the designed path. One after another, the scene will gradually reveal itself as you walk through it. Having this in mind, I constructed an image database of Suzhou gardens. Then I trained a generative neural network with this database, which generates an ever changing artificial garden. Each generated image only shows a fraction of the garden, for example a pavilion, a pond, the snow on the early blooms, a view of lush greenery through the window. Browsing through these changing visuals one by one feels like walking in an actual traditional Chinese garden.
Private Garden is an interactive installation. Visitors can lie in the bed and move their body to interact with the projected garden visuals. Imagine when you are busy walking around the garden and exploring, insects and birds might be scared away and you might also not pay enough attention to the surrounding environment. So when the visitor moves a lot in bed, the garden visual will turn more fragmented and change rapidly into other scenes and the ambient sound will be turned down.
On the contrary, when the visitor stays calm and still in bed, the changing visual will slow down on the current scene and show more detail. Just as if you find a place in the garden that you like and decide to take a closer look and enjoy this moment. And then you start to hear the sound of the wind blowing through the leaves, birds and insects singing. To simulate this experience, the ambient sound volume will be turned up gradually.
To sum up, the goal is to create an immersive yet intimate environment, in which visitors can stretch their bodies freely and have a relaxing experience interacting with the ever-changing artificial garden.