Harewood unveils interactive garden

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Visitors are being called to the Walled Garden at Harewood House this summer, as Pleasure Garden, an interactive ‘listening’ garden created by Australian musician Genevieve Lacey, opens to the public on Thursday June 27.

Over 30 audio interventions have been hidden across the feature, from high in the trees to low among the plants, connected to each other and to sensors triggered by visitors to the garden in a unique and interactive way.

The garden responds to movement – different layers of the composition are triggered by presence and move subtly across the space as it is explored and enjoyed, with sounds from Australia (county Victoria and regional New South Wales), The Netherlands (Utrecht) to Norway (Kristiansand), in addition to birdsong recorded at Harewood.

Inspired by the story and music of the 17th century Dutch musician, composer and improviser, Jacob van Eyck, the Walled Garden will be a place of musical play as visitors move, explore, sit and listen.

Pleasure Garden combines excerpts from Jacob’s work, set within newly-composed music by Genevieve Lacey and Jan Bang, in collaboration with sound designer Jim Atkins.

Genevieve said: “We’ve had an incredible few days installing the new Pleasure Garden at Harewood and it has been a delight to watch visitors interact and engage with the music and sounds.

“By nature, humans are incredibly curious and this piece will coax you around the garden, inviting you to hear the different parts of the musical composition, to play with it and to discover more.

“This might be whilst resting a while amongst the trees, or wandering along the borders.

“We’re hoping visitors will be questioning whether they are hearing a piece of music or whether it’s the natural environment, as the sounds float in and around them. The piece is delicate and subtle with the aim of encouraging people to pause and be more attentive to the space around them.”

Trevor Nicholson, Head Gardener, Harewood House Trust, said: “The gardens at Harewood are always a delight to visit as they change every season, but what’s really lovely is when they become something more and have multiple layers expanding across different artform.

“Having seen such positive engagement with Seeds of Hope in the Walled Garden last summer, Pleasure Garden is a really lovely and innovative installation, which offers a whole new possibility for visitors to interact in the space around them and we hope it will enrich their visit.”