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The Garden of Spoil: Maria Simmons’ Rat, Plastic, Wood

17 September 2022

By Chris Hampton

I’d never noticed the building at 10 Tom Street in West Hamilton, a Sunday school tucked behind an old church, let alone considered there’d be any reason to explore its basement. Past the doors, the scent greeted me first: fresh and mineral, like the smell of earth after a rainfall (but on a return visit, it was sweet like rot). A curious purple glow leaked into the stairwell from the lower floor, intensifying with each step downwards. Then, off the landing, a large room opened, revealing an extraordinary subworld—a garden of sorts—living virtually in secret.   

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