Sinking Gardens: Alan Waxman and Nikola Bojic connect past to future in Hangzhou

“Sinking Gardens,” a landscape intervention by Nikola Bojic (MDesS 13) and Alan Waxman (MLA 14), has been installed in Hangzhou’s XiXi National Wetland Park. The work was created for the 2012 West Lake International Invitational Sculpture Exhibition curated by the China Academy of Art Public Art Department. 
Almost three times larger then New York’s Central Park, XiXi National Wetland Park is the newest, most powerful and green element of Hangzhou’s massive urban development. Seeking to renegotiate public space in the face of a contemporary building boom, Bojic and Waxman peeled back layers of the site, revealing past communities now gone. Historical mapping research opened a dialogue between displaced families and the designers, revealing an invisible ecology of erased life.
The designers adopted old boats found in XiXi as mediators between past and present. The boats emerge from the land, carrying earth and grass into the water to form a new topography that can be walked and explored.  Each boat in the composition honors one family that lived for generations in XiXi. On opening day, family fathers Hong, Zhang and Shen inscribed their names on the boats, positioning their recovered history at the forefront of China’s contemporary green development.