Where I used to live, there was a great Botanical garden with all sorts of paths to explore. Near the center of the park was a stone labyrinth that you could follow around and around to see if it would eventually lead you to the middle. There were small flowers planted between the paths, but I always wished they would let it grow into a large hedge so you couldn’t see where you were headed.
A garden labyrinth is probably one of the only times it’s fun to not know where you’re going. Once you’ve solved the living puzzle, it’s never as mysterious. The same can’t be said for Nova Jiang’s kinetic moving maze, which changes every time you pass through it.
Jiang calls it “Landscape Abbreviated“: an artistic reinterpretation of a traditional maze using modular elements with rotating planters. The planters contain live moss collected from the sides of buildings, cracks in the pavement, subway grates and other urban nooks and crannies in New York City’s landscape.
The planters often shift their position, controlled by a software program that continuously generates new maze patterns based on mathematical rules; they rotate to form shifting pathways that encourage visitors to change direction and viewpoints as they move through the space.
“I envision this sculpture not as a classical labyrinth built to ensnare, but rather as an architectural abbreviation of grand ideas,” writes the New York-based Chinese artist. “In this way, the maze relates to literature, mathematical beauty, game play and the rigor of software programming, as much as it does to architecture and landscape.”