Elsewhere Garden

The Elsewhere Garden, Semple Begg’s garden for art therapy charity, the Teapot Trust has won a gold medal at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

In collaboration with Kathy Hinde we contributed an eight channel soundscape representing the underground, undergrowth and tree canopy layers of the garden. The soundscapes were dynamically enhanced by live data from weather services and environmental sensors on site. Interactive elements included a sensitised plant, wired to ECG monitoring, which would respond to human touch, and a watering can that, when spoken into, would provoke the imps and elves within the garden to stir in the long grass. Three of Kathy's water tipper gongs gave an additional dimension of movement and sound, inviting the eye and ear up, into and through the space.

By far the most technically demanding work I have been involved with, and so it is just as well that everyone involved was just so damn good at what they do. A quite extraordinary alignment of skill, talent, imagination and, on occasion, brute strength.

The public reaction from young and old to this most audacious project has been nothing short of overwhelming.

After Chelsea the garden will be brought to its permanent home at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children where it will play an active role in nurturing transformative art therapy activity for children, young people and their families.

1 in 4 children and young people in the UK live with the pain and stigma of chronic health conditions that cause anxiety and depression. Almost a third of those aged under 21 who take their own lives have a long-term chronic illness. Typically, young patients with chronic conditions need regular invasive tests, injections and treatments. They often feel misunderstood, saying others don’t believe they’re in pain because their condition is “invisible”.

Through the gentle process of art therapy, Teapot Trust supports them to express and process their feelings about their diagnosis, their treatment regime, and how this affects them day-to-day. Through transformative art therapy they find effective coping tools which builds their resilience, with 92% reporting to have made progress towards their goals and no longer feeling defined by their condition.

None of this work would have been possible without the remarkable work of Project Giving Back and their Gardens For Good Causes initiative…

Kathy Hinde's documentary video of The Elsewhere Garden

“The long-shadow of the pandemic, the cost of living crisis, the climate crisis, global political tensions and the war in Ukraine are the bigger picture that we’re all operating against and it is so often charitable organisations that step up to restore the environment and support people and communities in need at times like these. Do not underestimate the hope and optimism gardens for good causes will bring people.” Hattie Ghaui, CEO Project Giving Back.

Pictured in repose at the completion of the build are garden designers Nicola Semple and Susan Begg along with the creators of sound art, interactives and kinetic sculptures, Kathy Hinde and Michael Begg.

Charity: The Teapot Trust https://www.teapot-trust.org/teapot-trust-elsewhere-garden
Supported by: Project giving Back https://www.givingback.org.uk/
The build: Stewart Landscape https://stewartlandscape.co.uk
(with special mention for onsite co-ordination from Rachel Sampson https://rachelsampson.co.uk )
Water feature construction: Water Artisans https://waterartisans.com
Plant growing: Kelway Plants https://www.kelways.co.uk
Sound art / Interactive / Kinetic water sculptures: Michael Begg and Kathy Hinde (https://kathyhinde.co.uk)

Tech Spec for sound component:
8 channel audio delivered wirelessly. Soundscapes comprising located sound, field recording, modular and granular synthesis, mimetic composition. Sound modulated with sonified environmental sensors (humidity, temperature, moisture, electrical capacitance) and weather data (air temp, air pressure, wind speed and direction, humidity). Dynamic processing of voice microphone and touch sensitive piezos / ECG.

The Elsewhere Garden illustration by Sandra Dieckmann http://www.sandradieckmann.com/

Wireless headphones/transmitters supplied by Silent Disco King: https://sales.silentdiscoking.com

Other photography © Andrea Jones https://www.andreajones.co.uk / https://www.gardenexposures.com/index , Kathy Hinde, Michael Begg.