Alternative Reality Gardening

You may not realise it, but you are inside a portal to an alternative reality.


A place where scientists, technologists, theorists, poets, crafters, dancers, artists and engineers all garden – in quite different ways.




Dr Maggie Buxton conceived this combined publication and symposium and is the curator and producer for this project. Maggie has spent thirty years opening portals between different realities, most recently including emerging technologies such as AR into her practice. Her goal is always to expand possibilities, disrupt existing mindsets and connect people more deeply to the spirit of place and to the planet.


An idea to open a portal through to many different realities using the theme of gardening became an international invitation to AwhiWorld’s extensive cross-disciplinary network of collaborators and partner organisations. This included Australian partner TreeCreate and members of the global transdisciplinary network SEADS (Space Ecology Art Design)). Former and current participants in AwhiWorld creative innovation labs and projects were also invited to contribute.


The initial call-out (which resonated closely with Maggie’s PhD research) was as follows:

Places today are formed from multiple intelligences, materialities and lifeforms and are intersected by a rich array of alternative realities and parallel worlds. Flora, fauna, signals, code entangle, and what is considered real, true, alive and beautiful is negotiated. In this context:

• What gardens are emerging or possible? In what realms and realities do they exist?
• What is being cultivated (internally, creatively, physically, spiritually)?
• What is thriving and what needs protection?
• What new lifeforms and materials are emerging, and how do they intersect with what exists now?
• What are you foraging? propagating? grafting together? cooking?
• What is your place?



AwhiWorld’s first publication  is a miscellany, a diverse collection of writing and images blurring boundaries of mindset, discipline and practice. 

Important Note: Chrome or Firefox should be used to view this publication online (not Edge).


About the Symposium

Individuals and organisations from various disciplines, cultures and practices around the world share their own take on Alternative Reality Gardening. From organic farming to creating future fibres and materials, from generating new realities to cultivating communities of practice.


Within this series, we also have a significant number of Te Tai Tokerau | Northland Awhi Incubator participants sharing their practices, some for the first time.


The Alternative Reality Gardening Symposium launched on the 4th October and now exists perpetually. Let us know what you enjoy in the comments below the posts.




Thanks to Jarred Taylor for production support for the symposium (including editing and in many cases, recording or filming of participants)

Symposium Contributors

ARG: Introduction by Dr Maggie Buxton

Alternative Reality Gardening Introduction: Dr Maggie Buxton Dr Maggie Buxton conceived and curated Alternative Reality Gardening. She is a transdisciplinary practitioner with an extensive track record in developing people and places using leading-edge practices and technologies.   For thirty years she has expanded possibilities, built systemic connections and supported resilience in groups, organisations, communities and…

ARG: AI Unravelled

Unravelling Artificial Intelligence   From predicting our Spotify playlists to changing how our jobs function, Artificial Intelligence is weaving into every aspect of our lives. But what does AI mean for you? The event AI Unravelled: A Practical Look at Artificial Intelligence sought to answer that question.  Presented by Craig Neilson, Jarred Taylor and Maggie Buxton…

ARG: Sharyne Lewis

Sharyne Lewis, (bailartheskies) is a multidisciplinary artist exhibiting and performing since 1998. Lewis’s art practice is strongly influenced by her passion for dance, choreographic practice and drawing.  Her work explores themes through a conceptual and allegorical lens, delving deeply to merge her two practices in fine arts and performing arts. She lives in Northland, New…

ARG: Marchelle Farrell

Marchelle Farrell is a writer, medical psychotherapist, and amateur gardener, born in Trinidad and Tobago but has spent over 20 years attempting to become hardy in the UK. She is curious about the relationship between our external and internal landscapes, the patterns we reenact in relation to the land, and how they might be changed.…

ARG: Reva Mendes

Reva Mendes, he wāhine nō te kāinga ō Hokianga.  She is a contemporary mixed media Māori artist whose background is in traditional Māori weaving and Fibre Arts. Reva is based in Te Tai Tokerau,  living in Rawene, South Hokianga, and works collaboratively within Toi Māori and hapū as well as local Community Arts, Education and…

ARG: Pieter Steyaert

Pieter Steyaert is an artist and transdisciplinary researcher who explores collaborations within artistic and scientific communities. His work focuses on the context of astrophysics and exoplanets. Pieter is one of the co-founders of SEADS and has worked on a wide range of Biomodd, Seeker and Ēngines of Ēternity projects in Europe, the USA and SE…

ARG: Tracey Willms Deane

Tracey Willms Deane is an artist, author, and designer with a transdisciplinary creative practice. Her work focuses on what is present beyond the surface and what agency we have to cultivate harmony - within ourselves and our world. Her vision is to expand possibility through navigating shifts in perception. Tracey has an international heritage and…

ARG: Dr Tracey M Benson

Tracey M Benson is an interdisciplinary artist living and working on Yarun Bribie Island, Joondaburri Country on Kabi Kabi / Gubbi Gubbi Nation. Her work focuses on deep listening, connection to place and relational ways of being. She experiments with a broad range of media both analogue and digital, often working in collaboration with First…

ARG: Terri Donaldson

Terri Donaldson owns Wharepuke Organics - a certified organic dairy farm- with her partner Kenny Finlayson. She is heavily involved in numerous projects both in the community and artistic spaces, including creative director of the Dargaville Wearable Arts, the Maungaturoto Residents Association, the local magazine, op shop and Maungaturoto hall and others.   In this…

ARG: Daniël Vandersmissen / Dan Yapungku

Daniël Vandersmissen / Dan Yapungku lives in Belgium and creates installations and performances related to social themes and events. As an artist, he alternates between making analogue and digital images: paintings, drawings, assemblages, photo (editations), installations, objects/assemblages, animations, videos and brochures. He is a member of IGECC and SEADS.   The following two performances were…

ARG: Hamish Oakley-Brown

Hamish Oakley-Browne is an artist and Director of Te Kowhai Print Trust, a community-owned open-access print studio in Northland. His art practice is centred on the tradition of fine arts printmaking. Having had successful solo shows and group exhibitions, he was recently a selected finalist in the Waikato Print and Paint Awards, a National printmaking…

ARG: Aotearoa Digital Arts

In these two presentations, Vicki Smith and Ted Whittaker of Aotearoa Digital Arts Network (ADA) discuss how they have been cultivating connections through their organisation.   Aotearoa Digital Arts (ADA) is a network researching the expanded field around media, new media, electronic and digital art. The ADA Network enables communication between artists, curators, teachers, critics,…

ARG: Mary Pedicini

Mary Pedicini is an American sculptor based in London, who works at the intersection of art and science, independently and as part of the transdisciplinary SEADS collective. Her work is grounded in storytelling, and her practice is research-led. She employs scale shifts and deep-time thinking to question the implicit and explicit stories we tell about…

ARG: Kim Newall

Kim Newall is a creative practitioner, educator, and performer. He has a Master's in Creative Technologies and a long history of working at the intersection of the physical and digital worlds. He performs puppetry, minds bees, generates algorithms and cultivates parallel realities in his cross-material practice. Kim is AwhiWorld's longest-standing collaborator.   Instagram @wiredvisual   In…

ARG: Elise Koncsek

Elise Koncsek is an installation artist living in Whangārei, originally from Seattle, specializing in immersive and interactive art. Drawing from a background in biology, anthropology, and environmental rejuvenation, Elise is developing a project in Whangārei titled Deep Phosphene to share a concept of an imagined world. Elise is a participant in the Awhi Incubator Project.…

ARG: Mark Williams – CIRCUIT Artist Moving Image

Mark Williams is the Founder/Director of CIRCUIT, an arts agency based in Wellington.   CIRCUIT distributes over 1000 videos by 200 New Zealand artists from the 1970s to 2023. CIRCUIT's activities include commissioning new works
, distributing works in curated programmes to galleries, film festivals and on the CIRCUIT website, publishing essays, interviews with artists, and podcasts. Since…

ARG: Professor Frances Joseph

Professor Joseph is a designer and maker and a researcher at Huri Te Ao/The School of Future Environments at Auckland University of Technology and director of Intra-Action Initiatives. Her interest in new material practices and sustainability includes bio-materials, local production systems and material ecologies. She works with colleagues and postgraduate students to develop and deliver…

ARG: Dr Roy Davies

Dr. Roy Davies is a pioneer in Virtual Reality and Calm Computing. He completed his post-graduate studies at Lund University in Sweden and set up one of the first VR research centers in Europe.  He specializes in applying VR to real-world situations such as brain injury rehabilitation and participatory design.   Dr. Davies has spent…

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ARG is an evolving research project. If you would like to collaborate, contribute or be involved in some way please contact us.

Alternative Reality Gardening is part of the Awhi Incubator project kindly funded by Ministry of Culture and Heritage, New Zealand.

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