Facetten 14. Steffenschöni. Hatake: An Expedition into Japanese Gardening Culture

Author: 
Christoph Neidhart and Martin Preisser
Publisher: 
Benteli Verlag
Publication Date: 
2013
ISBN: 
978-3-716-51766-6

Paper, 148 p., $24.00

The media artists Heidi Schöni and Karl Steffen, known professionally as Steffenschöni, spent seven weeks traveling the length of Japan taking some 3,000 photographs of Japanese kitchen gardens. These are known as hatake, which means field in Japanese, but can also mean field of expertise. Facetten 14. Steffenschöni. Hatake: An Expedition into Japanese Gardening Culture is a portfolio of 30 selected pictures that comes with text in German and English by Neidhart and Preisser. Each plot is numbered in the portfolio and shows the geographical coordinates in which it was shot, which can then be referenced on a map of Japan on the outside cover of the folio. This study of hatake is part of a larger study of plants and their cultivation and the many types of Japanese gardens.
 
Neidhart's essay “To See or Not to See” discusses what he terms “the fine art of looking away.” Most of the shots involve the unlovely trappings around a few plants: a pair of gardening gloves, an old newspaper to protect the plants, muddy boots, a discarded motor oil can next to a planter. Very few show actual plants, and then they are hardly the meticulously maintained areas we often associate with Japanese gardens. This portfolio provides unusual insight into the Japanese character viewed through the images of these tiny garden sites.
—Joan Richards, volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden

Volume: 
15
Number: 
6