Image: Cover of Andrew Sneddon, Gavin Morrison & Kiyoshi Okutsu The slender margin between the real and the unreal (London: Artwords Press, 2007).
From the introduction of The slender margin between the real and the unreal: “Chikamatsu Monazaemon (1653-1724) comments that ‘art is something which lies in the slender margin between the real and the unreal’.1 He is referring to the need for eminent Kabuki actors to imitate real characters in favor over fictitious characters. This book both borrows and explores Chikamatsu’s statement, in order to explore the connection between representation of raw nature or wilderness and that of idealised nature or nature improved.“
The Destruction of Boundaries
Formal gardens in Europe and Japan are spaces of peculiar cultural significance. In differing ways, their forms condition the experiential encounter to make the garden a site of philosophical engagement. Gardens offer a particular opportunity to materially enact a culture’s understanding of the individual’s relation with the extended world. Fundamental to this is the sense of the garden as a zone of uncertainty, as a space between the outer boundary of a property and the dwelling. In a functional sense, it determines a distance between the world and home – an expanse that may be employed for a variety of purposes (grazing, crops, leisure, etc.) – yet its principal logic is that of separation and mediation. Therefore, as idyllic as a garden may seem, it is not without sense to make an appeal to the rhetoric of warfare in its description. It is a territory defined by site lines, frontiers, and camouflage, all of which serve to control the permeability of the garden as a membrane between the home and the external world.