Jeni Barnard: The Garden

The Garden is a duet between performer and environment, the two presented together as a living sculpture.

The environment of the piece will be a landscape, hand-built and highly detailed. Its design will be abstract, based on the performers' formative memories of their life experiences so far, but at this point the environment could take various forms: it could be something the performers are inside or upon, something they wear, or something that transforms through a series of the above.

Ideally this landscape will be a self-contained ‘ecosystem’ which appears, as much as possible, alive. Its elements will move, breathe, transform and evolve rather than serving only as the setting of a performance. Its visual design will therefore be underpinned by mechanised elements, drawing on techniques of automata and puppetry. The performer will be essential to keeping the environment's 'life’ pulsing – for example, they could power bellows which animate winds and push smoke through chimneys, or work pumps which control the environment's tidal movements and the continuous erosion and reshaping of its land.

The landscape's structure will be designed to fit circus' vocabulary, with circus used as a tool to allow a heightened physical interaction with the environment. The piece will explore how a subtle and expressive vocabulary can be formed between a specific environment and a circus-trained performer, creating a symbiosis between the human and structural elements.

The piece will be durational and most likely presented as an installation. The audience will be as close as possible to the landscape, perhaps even able to inhabit it.

Looking for

Support: Commissions

Technical specifications

Brief description of set:
Please see description in show details above.
Lighting plan: