Robert Morris-Continuous Project Altered Daily

Material palette for improvisational models

Model of garden improvisation


Site Location Grand-Métis, Quebec, Canada | Competition Jardins de Métis 2014 | With Maritt Vaessin, Alex Kelley, Caitlin Brett, Anastasia Betsch, Erin Lynn Forrest

Improvisation is crucial. I want the work to be the experience of something live, to have this feeling that it was improvised. That you can see decisions happening on site, the way you see a live sports event, the way you hear jazz. The spontaneous is always where it is most interesting. As an artist you can spend a lot of time conceptualizing and thinking it over and then its usually in the actual making and the process where there is something spontaneous, that after all that planning you had no ideas was going to happen, is where it is interesting. When experience the piece when you thinking about its making you think about its demise, and you feel like when you come to it its actually a moment in time. You’re feeling the process as it happens; the outcome is not clear. 

—Artist Sara Sze on the role of improvisation in her installations.



Continuous Garden Altered Daily foregrounds the improvisation innate to garden-making. Aesthetically, we’re drawn to the textures of nascent states of ecological restoration, when the live stakes and seedlings are leafing out, when the geotextiles and artifices of ecological restoration are visible. In this scheme, each plot is research—a test plot—for the following garden, that accrues into a series of garden cells united by a material palette. We’re interested in the practice of garden-making and re-making, rather than the complete garden picture.

In 1969, artist Robert Morris initiated Continuous Project Altered Daily in a warehouse gallery. Each day for three weeks, he created and photographed a new composition with a consistent suite of materials—felt, soil, clay, timber.

Morris’ work is a reference site for Continuous Garden Altered Daily, which manifests the play between construction, maintenance and re-conceptualizing that is innate to gardening practice.

Our material palettes are those of ecological restoration: geotextiles, seed mixes, live stakes, rootwads, and soils. Each day we will prepare the soil bed within a 3m x 5m plot, and construct armatures to host new plant communities.

Our project is not the materialization of a rendering. It is a script, a prompt. We will use the local, daily knowledge we gain from working each plot corroboratively to inform the next. Subsequent plots may differ in composition, or it may be a technical refinement or reinterpretation of the previous day’s work.

Early visitors will observe our construction process. Later visitors will trace the evolution of the garden, divining clues about how each test-plot iteration influenced the next, and watch as plants colonize the armatures with their own logic.

Project Proposal: Reford Gardens Archive



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