Diagram of A Silent Garden
All white 3D render of an alarm clock
All white 3D render of an alarm clock
All white 3D render of an alarm clock
All white 3D render of an alarm clock
All white 3D render of an air plane
All white 3D render of an air plane
All white 3D render of an air plane
All white 3D render of an ATM
All white 3D render of an ATM
All white 3D render of an ATM
All white 3D render of an ATM
All white 3D render of high heels
All white 3D render of high heels
All white 3D render of high heels
All white 3D render of a mailbox
All white 3D render of a mailbox
All white 3D render of a mailbox
All white 3D render of a piggy bank
All white 3D render of a piggy bank
All white 3D render of a piggy bank
All white 3D render of a traffic light
All white 3D render of a traffic light
All white 3D render of a traffic light
All white 3D render of a traffic light

Diagram of a Silent Garden is an open call for a group show, using the title for a prompt and general invitation. Intended to reflect a range of practice in flux with Covid-19, we hoped to create a space to reconsider making work in our new condition. Initiated to be printed matter, not for sale, and distributed solely to the contributors, as our participant pool expanded the project naturally shifted into online form. We are proud to publish these pieces and thankful to those who took the time. This site has become a wide index of these practices, and in an ever-growing nature will continue to be open to new submissions, with the spirit of open discussion.

Core Team: Brian Sing, Jared Fellows; 3D Identity with Ted Youjong Kim; type design & web development by Jake Brussel Faria.

Welcome to Virtual Utopia: Population 1

Ceri Godinez

My life has be­come rather in­ter­est­ing of late. I’m the younger em­ployee of an older man who just quit his sta­ble job and is slowly los­ing his mind. I think that’s why he’s started to ex­press ro­man­tic in­ter­est in me, but I don’t re­ally care. It’s nice to be within six feet of an­other hu­man be­ing. I just ended a sev­eral year af­fair with a mar­ried woman af­ter an­other taught me that there’s more to life than my small town and my lov­ing, dys­func­tional fam­ily. I think I’m go­ing to take a road trip with my ge­netic anom­aly of a younger brother. Did I men­tion I’m an ob­ste­tri­cian? I just found out I’m not bi­o­log­i­cally re­lated to the man who raised me.

Before the apoc­a­lypse, I lived in a world where every­one was old and ugly and hated each other. It’s a real place called Haines, Alaska, a town of 2,000 con­spir­acy the­o­rists. Even the most ba­nal top­ics like the li­brary have two sides, di­a­met­ri­cally op­posed, each con­vinced the other has a se­cret plot to gain su­premacy dat­ing back a decade, at least.

On Netflix, every­one is young and beau­ti­ful and only some peo­ple hate each other. How could you not want to be a part of a world like that? A utopia.

My life now re­volves around use of my phone. I don’t be­lieve in charg­ing it at night. It needs sleep just like I do, but I can’t af­ford to have it run out of bat­tery dur­ing the day. My only re­course is to drag it around by its um­bil­i­cal cord, our um­bil­i­cal cord, a 25-ft elec­tric blue ex­ten­sion cord con­nect­ing the charger to the wall. It slith­ers af­ter us as we move from room to room.

My real-world mother, who lives far away, wor­ries I’m lonely, starved for so­cial in­ter­ac­tion. What she does­n’t re­al­ize is that in Netflix Utopia, you are never alone.


I’m on day seven of manda­tory quar­an­tine, but I have an ac­tive so­cial life. Sam Seaborn, Jerry Maguire, Gilbert Grape, Nina Proudman. The list goes on. I flit from one group in­ter­ac­tion to the next, sea­son af­ter sea­son. Sometimes I wish I could have a mo­ment just to my­self in this whirl­wind of a so­cial cal­en­dar, but if I were left alone with my thoughts, I’m not sure we’d get along.

The pro­fun­dity of the Netflix ocean is im­mense, in­fi­nite, all-con­sum­ing, like a land­scape re­flected in a pud­dle. The al­go­rithm only ever rec­om­mends you watch the same 50 movies and TV shows. Of those, you only ever con­sider watch­ing about half. Of those, you’ve al­ready seen an ever grow­ing num­ber. Mathematically, at some point you should run out of ma­te­r­ial to watch, and yet, by steadily low­er­ing your stan­dards, you ap­proach zero, but you never reach it.

And then there are the limbo ti­tles. How many movies make up the de­tri­tus at the bot­tom, the films never asked to the prom, never deemed wor­thy by the al­go­rith­mic gods? If a lost viewer were to trip down the Netflix rab­bit hole and ac­ci­den­tally click on one of these not-meant-for-hu­man-con­sump­tion movies, would there be any­thing to play? Or would the viewer be greeted with an empty screen, a shell, an im­age used to build out the im­pres­sion of a larger space that never ex­isted, like the back­drop of an old Hollywood movie?

In Netflix Utopia, the non-es­sen­tials melt away. You dis­cover the things that can­not be re­duced to vir­tual echoes of their for­mer selves. Virtually noth­ing in this vir­tual utopia.

Today, I took a vir­tual hike in my back­yard, star­ing up at the moun­tains as I did lunges. Real sweat poured down my face. To be ad­mit­ted to Netflix Utopia, I will need to drop the pounds I’ve put on through in­ac­tiv­ity these past few weeks. All the good, im­por­tant peo­ple in Netflix Utopia are skinny. Tom Cruise has abs like Jesus.

In Netflix Utopia, when beau­ti­ful peo­ple say dumb things, it sounds smart. You had me at hello.” Yippee Ki Yay. And every­one is beau­ti­ful, frozen at the zenith of their ca­reer, af­ter the ve­neers but be­fore age started to soften their jaw­line.

You can learn a lot from these vir­tual friends. How to treat a woman right. How to be a woman be­ing treated right. The in­ter­nal strug­gle be­tween do­ing what is right and what is po­lit­i­cally ex­pe­di­ent that a pres­i­dent faces each and every day of his ca­reer. The times when it’s ap­pro­pri­ate to get drunk, go over to your much younger em­ploy­ee’s house and make out with them. The rare times when it’s not.

In Netflix Utopia, every child re­ceives an iPad at birth. It’s called machine learn­ing.” Just a few hours of Netflix a day, and any­one can learn how to be a full-fledged mem­ber of the hu­man race. Just a few hours of Netflix a day, and you start to won­der why you ever both­ered liv­ing in the real world.


One month into quar­an­tine, the av­er­age American was watch­ing eight hours worth of movies and tele­vi­sion a day. I was one of them. And so, I would guess, were many of you. What hap­pens when, as a na­tion, we’re spend­ing 2.6 bil­lion hours a day stream­ing on­line con­tent? What hap­pens when TV be­comes your best friend, your fam­ily, your lover and your more than full-time job? Life is ob­jec­tively more ex­cit­ing, funny and at­trac­tive–as long as you’re con­tent to be a viewer, rather than a par­tic­i­pant; as long as you don’t worry about the ef­fect it’s hav­ing on your brain; as long as you’re able to over­look the tiny, in­signif­i­cant de­tail that none of it is real. If that’s all cool with you, then quar­an­tine is ba­si­cally a utopia. Welcome.