I was asked to create the Garden of Knowledge in an area covering 3500 square meters between two large buildings where art exhibitions were mounted. I built models of lots of rooms, which I spread over the surface – rooms with angular cells and walls at various angles, rooms like boxes with various contents to discover and categorize. The outside walls made up a labyrinth in the space in between. After a while I limited the number of rooms – how many rooms does it take to make a labyrinth? It turned out that it sufficed with five big ones and three small ones. The contents of each of the rooms told a different story, which could be combined with the other stories into different wholes.
The Garden of Knowledge was about imbibing knowledge, discovering and conquering, about appropriating, interpreting and reinterpreting. The rooms contained everyday objects. There was one room with different kinds of wood, one with different kinds of stones, one with animals. One room represented the power to grow; it was full of fast-growing things, lush and luxuriant, and finally there was one room for that which has been abandoned and forgotten, where even memories were erased. One room had a bit of sky and a functioning bathroom close to the ground and a tap with water but no basin. An engine, making a lot of noise, puffing and blowing and spouting water, occupied another. In one room, the smallest of them all, a person was locked up.
The locked-up person was not real, but the soundtrack was very realistic – an actor who struggles to get out, to free himself from his temporary prison. He returned in the garden of forgetfulness, his voice now calm and relaxed. In the well he could be heard talking to himself, incoherently like a slightly demented person in a monologue with himself and his fragmentary memories. Along the border of the Garden of Knowledge, there were outlook towers from which you could get an overview of the garden, if you dared to climb up. I called them ‘Castles in the Air’. They were a cross between a birds’ nest and a power-line pylon. It was pure luxury to sit up there cosily and comfortably sheltered in a stable structure covered with soft straw. To find oneself high up in a birds’ nest gave a sense of superfluous abundance, comparable to life in a palace, superfluous but at he same time necessary. The lowest tower was only one and a half metres high, the highest eleven.