{Paradise in the Sun} Or a garden of all sorts of pleasant flowers

GrowFM opens on 19 May with ‘{Paradise in the Sun} Or a garden of all sorts of pleasant flowers’ an immersive audio experience in the Kitchen Garden celebrating community and the sensory power of nature.

We’re delighted to present ‘{Paradise in the Sun} Or a garden of all sorts of pleasant flowers’, an immersive, interactive audio experience that opens on Thursday 19 May. An antidote to pandemic isolation and anxiety, {Paradise in the Sun} invites you to slow down, disconnect from the ‘noise’ of city living and instead reconnect with the natural environment. Part hypnosis, part therapy, {Paradise in the Sun} is a celebration of the joy of community and belonging and the sensory pleasures of being in nature.

Situated in our award-winning walled Kitchen Garden, {Paradise in the Sun} invites you to participate in a multi-sensory walking route using an audioguide. Spoken instructions ask you to reflect, lie on the grass, look up at the sky and wave at the planes flying overhead, soak up the smells and listen to the hidden sounds of the garden, to walk mindfully and fully engage with your surroundings using all of your senses.

Image: Visitors enjoying the Kitchen Garden at Chiswick House & Gardens.

The experience is the work of a Netherlands-based creative studio, affect lab, created in specific response to the Kitchen Garden environment. Public participation is at the heart of affect lab’s practice and conversations with members of the Heston West Big Local community group based in Hounslow inspired the work, which was developed during an artistic residency here at Chiswick House & Gardens.

affect lab 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. {Paradise in the Sun} Or a garden of all sorts of pleasant flowers summons centuries-old notions of joy, play and tranquility to ask, how can we find pleasure and nourishment from nature again?

Image: affect lab’s Klasien van de Zandschulp and Dr. Natalie Dixon in the Kitchen Garden

{Paradise in the Sun} is the inaugural element of GrowFM, our evolving season of activities and experiences running throughout the summer months. GrowFM will bring together artists and audiences physically and online in an experimental, sound-based season that features new commissions by local and international artists as well as a roaming pop-up radio station, powered by the community for the community, broadcasting from Chiswick House & Gardens for six weeks throughout July and August.

Taking the idea of ‘community as health’ and our role as a much-loved public space as a starting point, curator-producers Yinka Danmole and Tadeo Lopez-Sendon have developed GrowFM as a fluid, evolving programme that asks, how do we support and re-centre community at the heart of social life today?

GrowFM is inspired by the DIY ethos of the many pirate radio stations that broadcast from the neighbourhoods surrounding Chiswick House & Gardens in the 1990s, becoming a lifeline for disenfranchised communities, as well as our 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, Arts Council England and The Linbury Trust, GrowFM forms part of Hounslow’s first-ever Summer of Culture, a season of exciting activities celebrating the borough’s places, spaces, and rich diversity of people.

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

Our Director Xanthe Arvanitakis 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!

Offering respite from the pressures of modern life and the stresses of city living, ‘{Paradise in the Sun} Or a garden of all sorts of pleasant flowers’ invites you to find your version of paradise once more in the simple pleasures of a kitchen garden.

Part of your House & Kitchen Garden ticket from 19 May. Book tickets.

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