Forestiere Underground Garden, Fresno, California, 2007
2x20 synchronized colour images from above and within the For esti
ere subterranean garden, synchronized field recordings, 2 sets
of active stereo speakers, 2 flat screen monitors, and cables. In stall
ation di men sions variable.


Foresteire Underground Garden is an artwork in which several parall
el situations are ieplored. Ursula Nistrup travelled to Fresno,
California to visit a peculiar American dwelling that has ex isted unabashed
and without pretence for over a hundred years. The Forest
eire Underground Gardens are the creation of Mr. Foresteire, a
Sicilian immigrant farmer who came to Ca lifornia at the start of the
last century. After unsuccessfully att empting to farm the Fresno
soil, he began, with considerable en terprise, digging tunnels into
the ground and breaking the sub soil’s sedimentary rock formation,
using its material to cre ate improvisational arches, reminiscent of
catacombs, in a 12th-cen tury Italian style. He eventually produced
a labyrinthine dwelling that is host to a series of gardens above and
below the ground. Ursula Nistrup proceeded to both photograph
and make audio recordings of the situational phenomena to be
found both below and above ground in these gardens. By employing
a formal pro cess of establishing a vertical line through two points,
above and below the ground, acoustic and aesthetic situations are
proc essed as parallel situations occurring within the gardens. As
an extension of this capturing process, pictures capture the perceptual
surface, by means of the evidential function of the camera,
and one can hear the birds and fast moving automobiles in the
nearby highway, which is the main road accessing the system of
passages the Italian immigrant has left us. Originally the For esteire
Underground Garden was conceived to be a hotel; one can
argue that the barrier between the surface and underground primarily
is economic, as well as socio-architectonic… Extract from

Text by Claus Ratcliffe Pedersen, a sociologist liv ing and working
in Copenhagen.