Gardening the Ruins, 2023
Canvas, ink, acrylic, oil pastel, metal powder, wood, metal powder, transducers, handmade machines
Gardening the Ruins is an installation of projected images, sound, robotics, and drawings on canvas that depicts a future garden space. In thinking about the history of gardens as quiet, secluded, and delightful places to heal both body and mind, Zhong developed an alternative model of what a garden of the future might look like. This space is both meditative and beautiful, while at the same time brutal and mechanical, devoid of actual organic elements. Land, water, human bodies and movements, architecture, and oceans are replicated by Zhong using artificial materials, with handmade robotic farming tools. These machines work the ‘land’ of the artificial garden in their repeated motions moving back and forth and, over time, changing the surface and composition of the canvases that represent the terrain. The work imagines what a natural landscape looks like in a world that is increasingly hybridized between the natural and the technological.
ZhenZhen Zhong is an interdisciplinary artist who works in installation, kinetic sculpture, machines, video, drawing, sound, and photography. Her art practice and research deal with constructing semi-fictional scenarios engaging with a wide range of topics including post-globalization, global south, technology, and identity.