WOMEN IN THE DIRT
ORIGINAL INSTALLATION ART
little while ago I was sent by Ms. Angela Alston, co-founder
of MocaMedia: Outreach Design & Management for Film, information
and rave reviews for a retina arresting documentary entitled
in the Dirt, conceived and directed by
Carolann Stoney. The film is about seven women garden architects
and the gardens they’ve created.
The garden, as an art form, is not a new invention and it
could be argued
that gardens were, after all, the original installation art.
People travel from all over the world to view famous installations
such as Versailles, Luxembourg and the Alhambra, to name but
a fraction of gardens whose only purpose is to delight the
senses. These works of art must be enjoyed in situ;
visitors can’t buy or take them home; they serve a purely
aesthetic function, just like any other form of installation
This movie reawakens us! Everyone watching will remember his
or her own sacred places. My own are Ossian Cole’s Simond’s
Illinois park where I rambled through my teen years, and the
northern California farms where I found summer work and came
Women in the Dirt reveals landscape architecture's
unique status as a modern profession founded by both men and
women. This history is graciously deepened by vignettes of
seven contemporary women landscape architects. Director Carolann
has selected top landscape architects whose contributions
to American landscapes will now receive their due. “Just
as anyone can enjoy histories of women artists, Women
in the Dirt is gendered in its subject, but not its audience,”
observes Katie Kingery-Page, Assistant Professor of Landscape
Architecture at Kansas State University.
The above is only one of many testimonials to which I wholeheartedly
add my own; kudos to Carolann Stoney for an aesthetically
challening, thought-provoking, beautiful film.
was fortunate to see the screener -- respectfully sent to
Arts and Opinion -- by Angela Alston. I asked her
where or when our readers would be able to see the documentary.
She advised me that the film has been submitted to film festivals
and that she is waiting to see when and where the official
premiere will take place. A screening is planned for Oct.
29 in San Diego, California. Angela apologizes for such vague
information, explaining that the film’s release is at
the mercy of festival programmers who receive thousands of
entries. Sundance, for example, had to pick and choose from
among 10,000 entries this year, so all you can do is submit
urge you to keep the title Women in the Dirt in mind,
confident that it will soon be available to a much larger