Garden of Whispers: Surreal Sand Dunes Fill 13th-Century Gothic Church

A makeshift wooden walkway winds along a strand-lit and tree-lined path between dunes, creating a surreal environment within the context of this historic church.


Set in a religious space in Toulouse, this strange journey is punctuated by small vignettes that speak to the history of the place. In addition to physical installations and visuals, the space features a soundscape of whispered voices playing in the background and array of carefully generated aromas.


Along their way through the sandscape, visitors will find a full campsite nestled in the low hills as well as other small shelters with pots, pans, bedding and fireplaces – temporary and nomadic signals juxtaposed with a sturdy historical structure.


The materials date from various ages, including modern plastics as well as ancient-looking tents of rough-hewn wood and fabric. The end result fits the artist’s aim of “creating a timeless experience outside known references.”


Nor is the experience entirely static – live persons add dynamism to the mix. Artist Hans Op De Beeck “has staged a number of serene figures that quietly perform mundane, everyday acts. From time to time, these silent live performers offer tea to visitors.”




“Overall, the ‘Garden of Whispers’ incorporates a range of historical, religious and mythological references, yet most importantly, aims to offer a profound experience of the present, regardless of explicit references.” The temporary installation will be open to the public through this November.