An imaginary walk across Cardiff's backyards
“ The only maps and charts he had to go by were remembered or imaginary but these were clear enough. First there were the Grahams, the Hammers, the Lears, the Howlands, and the Crosscups. He would cross Ditmar Street to the Bunkers and come, after a short portage, to the Levys, the Welchers, and the public pool in Lancaster. Then there were the Hallorans, the Sachses, the Biswangers, Shirley Adams, the Gilmartins, and the Clydes. The day was lovely, and that he lived in a world so generously supplied with water seemed like a clemency, a beneficence. His heart was high and he ran across the grass. Making his way home by an uncommon route gave him the feeling that he was a pilgrim, an explorer, a man with a destiny, and he knew that he would find friends all along the way; “
John Cheever, The Swimmer, 1964
In October 2014 I was asked to respond to the hidden corners of the city of Cardiff. Around 1/3 of Wales' homes are terraced houses. Each house has a back-garden, every garden is more or less the same size to the one next door. This repetitive urban pattern if looked from the sky at the end of the summer appeared to me like a series of parks, one for each block of houses. The not-so-tall walls that divided every individual small garden were disappearing in the dense foliage. In less then a month I gained access to around 80 houses and by moving from garden to garden I created a garden tree: a sort of family tree connecting all the people which were up for letting me enter, see and photograph their gardens.
The work explores the relationship between people, their backyards and their potential as unified spaces. It was thought as a performance, a walk with all the people of one block across the walls of their gardens. From the idea of a physical walk shiftend on an imaginary one using a small artist book to re- imagine a series of private proprieties as a big shared space. What rules would regulate it? How would that affect the daily use? I hope the work will make people think about their private personal space, and about shared space in a different way.
The work was realised with the support of Cardiff Council, Cardiff Contemporary, Madeinroath, g39 and the generosity of the participants who shared their gardens with the project.
Design: Daniele Sambo + Marco Scerri
First Edition of 50, 2015
Second Edition of 50, 2016
This publication is the result of
Daniele’s artist in residency at
Cardiff Contemporary 2014.
It was made possible with the support of Cardiff Council, Cardiff Contemporary, Madeinroath, g39 and the generosity of the participants who shared their gardens with the project.