Archives for posts with tag: Virtual Reality

– A half of the celestial sphere, the sky.

1811 Cape Foulwind

Exciting news for the New Year. Allenheads Contemporary Arts has been awarded Arts Council funding for the next phase of Beyond, launching as Continuum, ACA will be working with curator Rob Le Frenais.1812 observatoryI am delighted to be part of this new interdisciplinary programme of contemporary art which aims to connect the arts and sciences via the conduit of speculative literature and science fiction.
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Also, thanks to the support of Senior Lecturer in Spacecraft Engineering, Aaron Knoll, at Imperial College London I have been offered the opportunity to work with a small team of students to realise the launch of a high altitude balloon with an aim to film a cloud chamber at the edge of the atmosphere where protons crash and decay. If successful, it could be the first time cosmic particles have been filmed in a cloud chamber at 30km altitude.

Aaron has previously launched a high altitude balloon with 12 GoPro cameras to capture 360 footage for a virtual reality experience VR2Space flight to the edge of the atmosphere.

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Video and data from this experiment undertaken with Imperial College will then feed into the work I will be making as part of Continuum.

I have been thinking about Vitruvian Man as a reference point for making video work with an aerialist and developing some sort of sequence based on this image which Leonardo da Vinci said was cosmography of the microcosm. He saw the workings of the human body as an analogy for the workings of the universe based on symmetry and proportion.

I was thinking of the aerial hoop but the Cyr wheel may work better as this is proportioned to the body of the user. It’s a starting point and I can look at the idea of scale and proportion in relation to the body and space. I came across all female Alula Cyr which have some inspiring work online.

1812 jessica ladley on cyr wheel

Thank you to Wuon-Gean Ho for a short article about my work Duodecimēns in the 2018 Autumn edition of Printmaking Today.

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1810 Printmaking Today

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Thames-side Open Studio

Other new work I am developing continues with the idea of the portal. Looking at sacred space as a portal into a spiritual realm promising some sort of transformation and relating this to the power of a black hole and its potential to transform or transport matter.

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Popped in to Lumen Studios at St John’s Church Bethnal Green to see Cosmic Debris a durational choreographic installation created with things found on the streets. Aleksandra Borys and Marcio Kerber Canabarro were performing a gentle alignment of matter using incense, bells and ritualistic sequences incorporating balance as a key focus.

Went to Field/s One panel discussion and exhibition at SluiceHQ moderated by Thom Bridge who set up and coordinated this dynamic peer network group of 12 artists engaging in conversations about photography and its wider contexts presenting new works grounded in photography but also extending to video, performance and installation.

1811 FieldsONE exhibition

First images are arriving from the New Horizon flyby of Ultima Thule 6.5 billion km from Earth

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“We are in the midst of both an incredible and challenging space age. How can we harness the information, collected in silos, from the fields of cosmology and quantum physics to conceive of a more unified vision of how the universe (and us) are put together? Within science and culture – what new models of thought could we foster? How do creativity and consciousness fit into this emerging paradigm? How can we rethink our practices to swerve the impasse some are labelling a new ‘Dark Age’?…”

Following the above brief – London Laser Lab talk

Talks on the intersection of art, science and technology – LASER is a project of Leonardo® /ISAST (the International Society for Art, Science and Technology). London LASER is organised by Heather Barnett and students on the MA Art & Science at Central Saint Martins.

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Re:Thinking Space panel discussion chaired by Nicola Triscott with Dr. Chamkaur Ghag, Dr. Ceri Brenner, Susan Eyre and Dr. Thomas Kitching

I have recently had the opportunity to visit the southern hemisphere. New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful country. I am sure the dramatic geology and awe inspiring landscapes will have an impact on my practice. I finally caught a glimpse of the milky way when the clouds briefly parted during a 2am visit to Mt John Observatory. Underground rafting to see the glow worm caves at Charleston was a beautiful and surreal experience and the spectacular Lord of the Rings tour with Pete from Queenstown OFFROAD tours was an exciting adrenalin rush crashing wildly upstream or precariously navigating the winding and precipitous Skippers Canyon. I was even able to add another Paradise to my documentation archive.

1811 Charleston caverafting1811 Charleston glow worm caves1811 Franz Joseph Glacier1811 Punakaiki Pancake Rocks1812 Lake Mathesan forest1812 Lake Tekapo Mt John Observatory1812 Milford Sound1812 Paradise




Research at St. James Weybridge for work thinking about collapsing space in on itself, moving from one space to another via portals, holes in space time, or dream spaces and spiritual spaces.

Seeing intertidal steel plate propped up with the print on my desk has given me some ideas about building images and the idea of opposites. Earth and heaven. If they are as in some myths, a mirror image – how do we know which way is up?

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Happened upon a large very shiny bowl that I will try with new submīrārī images in water.

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It already does amazing things before any water is added. It only came in one size so need to try and find some similar (may be an excuse to go to India where this one was made). Plan to transfer some images from sacred spaces to fabric for the bowls and begin to look for more saints and sacred springs to photograph too to join Mary from St.Non’s holy well.

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The Royal Society Summer Exhibition was a fantastic showcase for science research across the UK, manned by enthusiastic practitioners it was hands on and minds engaged.

It is thought that at the BIG BANG the same number of matter and anti mater particles would have been produced – they then went about colliding with each other – annihilating into photons. We are awash in photons – particles of light. It’s still unknown what  happened to leave enough matter to create all the stars and galaxies and planets of the universe.

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Follow this link  to Antimatter Matters for an in depth explanation of what is going on at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in the search to understand why matter outnumbers antimatter in the universe.

In some information about ring-imaging Cherenkov detectors that distinguish between different types of charged particle such as muons, protons, pions and kaons I was curious to read that particles travel through the gas volume of the detector at faster than the speed of light emitting a coherent shockwave of light – I didn’t think it was possible for anything to travel faster than the speed of light.1607 positron_discovery

Had a chat with Grieg Cowan who, it turns out, helps run a schools outreach programme demonstrating cloud chambers, and explained my interest in particle physics and how I am planning to build a cloud chamber myself inspired by our trip to the Dark Matter Research Laboratory at Boulby. Obviously I won’t be able to make visible any dark matter particles but I am still excited about making other cosmic rays visible and capturing my own images of these tiny projectiles hurtling around us.

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Inspired by bubbles, researchers at the University of Bath studying photonics have created a new hollow glass fibre optic to channel high powered lasers. The walls of these tubes are designed to trap light of particular wavelengths in the core. The effect is similar to the reflection of different wavelengths by the thin film of a bubble.

1607 Royal Society Fibre optics

The laser loses less energy as the beam travels through air rather than solid glass.

1607 Royal Society laser

Fascinating and useful stuff but it was the bubble machine that was the most captivating. The thin soapy membrane stretches, reflecting and refracting light until the skin becomes so thin the light passes straight through – it is this mix of colour and turning to black that is so beautiful and mesmerizing.

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I got to make my own mini spectroscope using a piece of ridged plastic cut from a CD to diffract the light into a cardboard tube and a brief instruction of how to identify differences in LED, fluorescent and even the light on a smart phone which is created using a spectrum plus added blue (cheaper this way).

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The Planck satellite was launched in 2009 into orbit about 1.5 million kilometres away from earth. Over three years it has mapped the whole sky and observed the cosmic microwave background – the afterglow of the big bang when electrons and protons first combined to form transparent hydrogen gas allowing light to travel – it was like a fog lifting across the entire universe.

1607 Planck Cosmic microwave background

The forces of gravity and pressure from trapped light balanced each other creating a slow oscillation of matter through very low frequency sound waves –  the music of the stars. These harmonics can be read and interpreted in cosmological theory supported by the data from Planck. From data gathered by Planck scientists calculate –

4.9% – Normal matter in the Universe
26.8% – Dark matter in the Universe
68.3% – Dark energy
67.8km/s/Mpc  – Expansion rate of the Universe
550 million years – Reionization from first stars forming
13.8 billion years  – Age of the Universe

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There were of course discoveries that didn’t fit in with the standard model and theoretical predictions. Questions about hemispheric asymmetry and the ginormous cold spot remain. A small fraction of the CMB is polarised and this means it contains even more information and may hold further clues about the very early phases of the Universe’s history and also its present and future expansion.

The European Rosetta space mission and Philae explorer spent 10 years travelling to visit Comet 67P.

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Arriving in 2014 at a celestial object with almost no gravity they sent back news of a dusty world of ice and gas but one that also has traces of the building blocks necessary to create life.

1607 Comet 67P

The  Galaxy Makers were there with supercomputer simulations to test how galactic ingredients and violent events shape the life history of galaxies.

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Following a recipe I created my own galaxy which was given a code and could be brought to life using a hologram video, my smartphone and a plastic galaxy maker I was provided with. I can’t convey with a photo how cool this tiny spiral galaxy rotating over my phone screen is.

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From godlike galaxy gazing to immersive hurtling between the stars dodging between fronds of dark matter magically made visible by a virtual reality headset, Durham University had it covered.

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Space is full of dust. Stardust. On earth I believe it is mostly made up of dead skin cells. Jorge Otero-Pailos’ The Ethics of Dust is an impressive interaction with centuries of dust accumulation in Westminster Hall at the Houses of Parliament.

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Stripping the ancient walls of the patina of age, the build up from the passing through of countless dignitaries and ne’er do wells, onto a latex cast that is then hung like a skinned animal the length of the impressive hall.

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The surface is thick velvet, wrinkled like a newborn.

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and the birthmarks of provenance can be matched to those on the opposing wall.

Taking both her cue from and her place in history Mary Branson’s New Dawn light sculpture can also be found at the Houses of Parliament as a permanent addition to Westminster Hall, a site of many demonstrations calling for change.

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Inspired by the many hundreds of petitions made to the government by women fighting for a right to vote that lie furled in the archives of the chambers; the scrolls are  transformed to glass.

1607 Mary Branson New Dawn (1)

The circles, that together form one large sun rising, change colour and pattern via a computer link to the monthly cycle of the pull of the moon on the waters of the Thames.

1607  Mary Branson New Dawn (3)

1607 Chud Clowes Starling wing

Paid a worthwhile visit to Imperial College Sherfield Building Gallery to see Chud Clowes show Murmurations inspired  by analogies between the swirling clouds of migrating starlings flashing gold from their feathers and the gold of the rescue blankets offered to desperate migrants drawn to collective movement across borders.

Catching up with RCA Alumni and celebrating this years graduate show. The atmosphere was unfortunately tempered by the nation having hit the self destruct button on the previous day. A world turned upside down.(courtesy of Nayoun Kang)

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Despite some uplifting and inspiring work my thoughts were very distracted and so I only have a few images to share.

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Mollie Teane’s sunshine colours showing a multi-layered collision of cultures was just a reminder of the cultural poverty a brexit vote signals.

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Kristina Chan’s monumental monoprint to the slow time of geology

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and primordial instincts that even Hoyeon Kang’s simulated fire invokes serve as reminders of the tiny fragment of time we inhabit.

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Mayra Ganzinotti’s beautiful interplay of the body with crystals made me think of this grounding inscription,

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taking us back to the essence of ourselves.

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Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art presented Magical Surfaces: The Uncanny in Contemporary Photography, an exhibition that explored the uncanny as exemplified in the works of seven artists : Sonja Braas, David Claerbout, Elger Esser, Julie Monaco, Jörg Sasse, Stephen Shore and Joel Sternfeld. For me it seemed more about the unreal than the uncanny.

1607 Sonja Braas Firestorm

1607 Stephen Shore

Queued theme park style (actually it wasn’t that long) to experience Yayoi Kusama’s mirror rooms next door at Victoria Miro for a brief 30 second immersion. Like entering the Tardis momentarily. The attraction may be triggering a primordial response to galaxy gazing that makes this reflected infinity so captivating.

More multiplicity and reflective surfaces with Sinéid Codd at Camberwell School of Art MA show.

This was a world caught between sci fi and the surreal. Inspired by the shapes and colours of gaudy jewellery it maintains that buoyancy of brash confidence found in oversized boldy faceted gemstones. Not afraid to be fake, like costume jewellery out-glitzing real diamonds. I saw clouds, a summer pavilion by the sea, here shapes morph into a world of shifting surfaces to drown in.


There was an inspiring look at the transformation of materials from Simon Starling at Nottingham Contemporary. This work explored the physical, poetic and metaphorical journeys of objects and materials. He considers transformation that can take place through the geographic, the economic and through time.

He is also interested in the physical properties of photography, which he has recast as sculpture through epic distortions of scale in The Nanjing Particles. Silver particles taken from 1875 photographs are enlarged a million times.

1607 Simon Starling

Project for a Crossing is a new work where Simon Starling has built a boat out of magnesium extracted from the politically contested waters of the Dead Sea.

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After the exhibition he intends to use his magnesium boat to cross the Dead Sea – a fraught geopolitical journey that may only be partially possible since the Dead Sea lies between Jordan, Israel and the Israeli occupied West Bank.

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Joseph Wright of Derby’s painting from 1771-95  The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher’s Stone, Discovers Phosphorus, and prays for the successful Conclusion of his operation, as was the custom of the Ancient Chymical Astrologers is the subject for one of the series Recursive Plates. 

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Ephemeral daguerreotypes, created with a delicate chemical deposit on silver plated copper, that reflect back and hold within the same image.

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Phosphorus was discovered by accident in 1669 when Hennig Brand was boiling down thousands of litres of urine in his quest for the Philosopher’s Stone. It gave of an unearthly glow and then what a magical moment when phosphorus first ignited and the brilliant light filled the room.

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A few hundred years on and phosphorous, the 13th element to be discovered has been terribly misused as a cruel weapon.

I so loved Nick Abrahams exhibition at The Horse Hospital.

“Lions and Tigers and Bears” – the fears of the forest that haunted Dorothy and her companions as they followed the yellow brick road

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Nick Abrahams makes short films, sculptural and installation pieces.

A wild man sings power ballads around Hampstead Heath and explores the suburban streets by night

Nick Abrahams 'The Wild Man'

Nick Abrahams ‘The Wild Man’

Dogs perform dance routines to the music of Iggy Pop

Nick Abrahams - Doghouse

Nick Abrahams – Doghouse

His award winning film Ekki Mukk is a beautiful and poignant story of a man, a snail and a fox.

I bought the 7″ single with recordings of a snail eating, a fox sleeping and sounds recorded of nature under the Tolpuddle Tree, the site of the birth of the first trade union.

Shirley Collins the film narrator tells a magical tale.

Nick Abrahams 7" single

Nick Abrahams 7″ single

These pieces are suggesting a way to look with your eyes shut,

Nick Abrahams - Fox Sleeping

Nick Abrahams – Fox Sleeping

bearing witness to the British countryside that you may not always be able to notice, a landscape that is both political and mystical, alive as it is with ‘animal magick’.

Nick Abrahams - wild man illustations

Nick Abrahams – wild man illustrations

Rachel Champion looks at urban architecture and energy in her installation at Hales gallery.

Pools of green algae sit in what might have been an abandoned attempt at some suburban municipal space.

Rachel Champion - Primary Producers

Rachel Champion – Primary Producers

Pebbledash has such resonance of the cheap and ugly that walking around this work is a bit of a dour experience.

The punched out circles glinting with the promise of little worlds, maybe offering the wonder of the rock pool, instead present a prosaic stagnant puddle more reminiscent of the back yard bucket.

Or flowerpot in my case.

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In its aim to highlight the successes and failures of the cheap fix and reassess materials it is an effective installation. The artist is hoping that we will look with new eyes for unexpected saviours to our urban afflicted energy crisis.

I went to the WYSIWYG? (What you see is what you get?) discussion evening at South London Gallery to hear more about What happens to Art in a Digital World.

Too many speakers had been booked for the time available so it was a shame they had to rush, rather like me in my end of year exam with 58 images in 15 minutes.

I was hoping for a bit more discussion about the immersive possibilities of virtual gallery spaces but the focus was more how technology is used in institutions or by artists rather than the experience of entering a new space online.

It was still interesting and we could try out some technological innovations.

ChairAXJ01 designed by Joe Want and Andrea Concha

ChairAXJ01 designed by Joe Want and Andrea Concha

Joe Want and Andrea Concha have designed a chair that records the unique movements of the sitter and creates a graphic depiction that can be controlled a bit by wriggling around  in your seat.

My personal graphic made by sitting in ChairAXJ01

My personal graphic made by sitting in ChairAXJ01

Melanie Lenz from the V&A talked about the difficulties of archiving digital art due to commercial upgrades of the necessary hardware and software.

Julia Crabtree and William Evans spoke about their exhibition at South London Gallery made by using 3d imaging techniques to create digital smoke then capturing the image and finally printing it onto carpet so in fact the image begins digitally and then ends up in a physical form.

Julia Crabtree and William Evans

Julia Crabtree and William Evans

Natalie Kane spoke about the power of  algorithms in connection with the artist Jonus Lund and his exhibition Fear of Missing Out, and TED talks from Christopher Steiner and Kevin Slater.

An essay by Christopher Pinney – Future Travel: Anthropology and Cultural Distance in an age of Virtual Reality; Or, A Past Seen From a Possible Future which was recommended to me by Esther Teichmann is interesting reading on the possible effects of digital technologies on everyday life. Thinking about cyberspace in terms of a space for a new paradise tailored to your own specification. Pinney’s view, looking back from an imagined future, sees physical and moral boundaries being broken with total sensual experiences allowing unlimited sex and no need to travel.

‘The Nether’ a new play by Jennifer Haley at The Royal Court Theatre tackles similar issues.

The Nether

The Nether

Popa has created his own dream space, a house populated by young children in Victorian dress with whom he and the guests to his world can have sex and then axe to death.

An argument unfolds on stage about the need for the same moral codes we employ in reality to be enforced in cyberspace. Popa’s plea is that no real children are harmed, the characters are avatars of adult participants in this world.

The Nether

The Nether

This virtual world felt very visceral when reaction to such a dilemma is sort.

Entering a very different staged environment I finally stepped over the threshold of the RA annual summer exhibition  My first visit to this annual institution  was in the belief that things are changing backstage, its updating and bringing in new blood. Also two of my RCA classmates had won a prize and a few other people I know were in it. Time to stop being sniffy. It was good to see Pauline Emond’s etching and Wuon-Geon Ho’s artist book.

Wuon-Gean Ho receiving her prize for 'unending forest'

Wuon-Gean Ho receiving her prize for ‘Unending Forest’

Wuon-Gean Ho - unending forest

Wuon-Gean Ho – Unending Forest

Pauline Emond with her winning work Regarde De Tous Tes Yeux

Pauline Emond with her winning work ‘Regarde De Tous Tes Yeux’

I was surprised how many names I recognised in the selection and how many red dots there were.

Maybe I’ll even have a go in future.

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It seemed appropriate to be reading Raymond Williams ‘People of the Black Mountains’ in the Azores even though the book is set in Wales.

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The islands have a black volcanic landscape, still very primeval in parts with bubbling hot springs and paralysed lava flows.


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These tiny islands are also a mixture of the pastoral

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and the tropical – in a garden setting

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there are inaccessible forest covered mountains

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and the blazing sun can turn to thick fog in minutes

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With all the rain and fog it’s moist and things grow

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best discovery was the crumbling ruin of 5* Hotel Monte Palace high on a volcanic ridge

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emerging from thick fog at the end of a tortuous jeep ride along tiny precipitous roads

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built only 30 years ago it never fulfilled its owner’s dream and has been left to rot

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The eerie atmosphere of abandoned space is echoed in Suzanne Moxhay’s constructed images

Suzanne Moxhay  - Copse

Suzanne Moxhay – Copse

Her work was part of ‘The Combinational’ at Studio 1.1 curated by Paul Carey-Kent, last years gallery fund-raiser ‘lottery winner’

'The Combinational' at Studio 1.1

‘The Combinational’ at Studio 1.1

I was drawn to the ethos of the show-

“The found and the collaged are dominant modern modes; what artists choose to use, and how and why they present or combine them, count for more than their ability with traditional techniques.

One could also say that life in most of the world is less about individual survival than it would have been in pre-modern eras, more about how we live together and whether we can survive that.”

I bought a ticket for this years lottery, so fingers crossed.

Despite a raging thunder storm the opening of Ochre Originals showing two pieces of my work at New Ashgate Gallery was really busy.

My work at New Ashgate Gallery

Rainforest Section 1 and 2

I have been reading in my research about paradise how the botanical garden emulates ideas of Eden with its mix of species cultivated together in a garden.

It offers a tame nature, we look like we are in control

and then this happened

Collapse of paradise

Collapse of paradise