Borrowed Scenery: Cultivating an Alternate Reality


Inspired by shakkei and jiejing gardens, FoAM developed the alternate reality narrative Borrowed Scenery, a story without a narrator or explicit narration which unfolded through hints, suggestions and immersive ambiance. By 'borrowing' from sources as diverse as plant mythology, patabotany, Tarot, plant sciences, historical mysteries and the setting of the everyday, Borrowed Scenery became a place to experience an alternate reality (past, future or parallel) where plants are a central aspect of human society.

In an alternate reality narrative (ARN), borrowing from 'consensus reality' becomes a way to draw the audience into the story. The familiar reality of popular culture acts as a bridge between life and fiction. What emerges is a storyworld – a web of experiences, tales and conversations between ARN creators, real visitors and fictional characters. Borrowing in an ARN is like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs from the 'consensus' to the 'alternate' reality. It is about establishing familiarity and intimacy with visitors through personal associations, memories and opinions, making their plunge into the storyworld a less alienating experience.