Maze Machine Garden

[Image: From "Landscape Abbreviated" by Nova Jiang].

"Landscape Abbreviated" by Chinese-born, New York-based artist Nova Jiang is "a garden that is simultaneously a machine." It is an algorithmically controlled "kinetic maze"—a different kind of switching labyrinth—"that periodically generates new pathways for the viewers to follow."

The resulting landscape, Jiang explains, is controlled by "a software program that continuously generates new maze patterns based on mathematical rules; they rotate to form shifting pathways that encourage visitors to change direction and viewpoints as they move through the space." In a sense, they are landscape turnstiles, blocking or enabling pedestrian movement.

[Image: From "Landscape Abbreviated" by Nova Jiang].

Individual rotating "modules" in the animated landscape have been "planted with moss gathered from backyards, sidewalks and subway grates around New York," we read, and, although the project is, for now, confined to a gallery space, the artist hopes to produce a larger, more robust outdoor version, perhaps even at the urban scale, imagining it "taking over a town square somewhere, where the inhabitants wake up each morning to find a new pathway for them to explore."

[Images: From "Landscape Abbreviated" by Nova Jiang].

The photos shown here give only a relative sense for the landscape's machinations in small-scale, but a short video is also available on Jiang's website.

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