Backyard Paradise

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Based on the PBS televsion show 'Off the Map' the Backyard Paradise website provides a multimedia tour of 14 gardens produced by visionary artists from around the world.

They won't all be to your taste, but whether you like them or not, I think you'll agree that they provide an amazing testament to their creator's creativtiy.

The tour includes a profile of the rock gardens in Chandigahr, India. Created by Nek Chard, the 40 acre park is filled with paths, courtyards, plazas, waterfalls and thousands of amazing sculptures made from recylced materials. Chard had been working on the gardens, his personal passion, for ten years before they were discovered in 1975. Now the gardens are India's second most popular attraction, after the Taj Mahal.

I've wanted to visit the gardens for some time, but I haven't quite made it yet. But they are on the top of my list for the next time I visit India, in part because of the lively and interesting presentation of the gardens and of Nek Chard that was part of the Backyard Paradise site.

The website was produced by Electric Shadows, which is the web based off shoot of the Independent Television Service (ITVS). ITVS' mission is to bring high-quality, content-rich programs created by a diverse body of independent producers to television audiences. Their programs take creative risks, explore complex issues, and express points of view seldom seen on commercial or public television. ITVS programming also seeks to reflect voices and visions of underrepresented communities and addresses the needs of underserved audiences, particularly minorities and children.

Electric Shadows takes ITVS' mission, and that of their partner Independent Lens to the web. Electric Shadow's digital projects present the “unflinching visions of independent producers” exclusively on-line.  Their award-winning sites bring the power of nonlinear storytelling to the web and are powerful examples of how the web can be used creatively.

Their other projects include Face to Face , which connects the experiences of Japanese Americans in the aftermath of Pearl Harbour with those of Arab and Muslim Americans post September 11, Beyong the Fire, which explores the impact of conflict on 15 teenage asylum seekers who fled 7 war zones and are now living in the US and Circle of Stories which uses documentary film, photography, artwork and music to honor and explore Native American storytelling.