Helvetic Power

Remember when those kids took us for a walk in their rice fields? I was just trying to create space on my hard drive and ran across these.

Picture 5

Actually I have the date from the time stamp on the photo: March 27, 2009.

Picture 1 Picture 2

I took lots of photos on that walk.

Picture 6

I just noticed this one….

Picture 1

But wait. What is the pattern on that guy’s shirt? Let’s zoom in. Wow.

Picture 2

Photoshop

I usually use Photoshop to make sketches for proposals, and I enjoy some of the in process views. Here are some screenshots….

The top two photos are from when I was making the sketch in the previous post. I found images of weeds online and pasted them into the file before shrinking them down, erasing the background, and integrating them into the image. But just when I press paste, they look like billboards and oversized jungle plants.

The two photos below that show my process for Herbarium. I took photos of real weeds laid on white paper. In order to increase the image resolution for the entire plant (so that I could blow them up big without becoming too grainy), I took multpile close-up shots and stitched them together in Photoshop. I then color-corrected and erased the background, and imported the file into Illustrator in order to tile the print across standard size paper so I could create the entire thing with my cheapo desktop inkjet.

Picture 2 Picture 5 Picture 7 Picture 8

Proposal

Picture 6

I propose to create a group of 3 to 5 giant flowerpots sunk into the ground, the largest of which could be anywhere from 8 to 15 feet in diameter and 2 to 3 feet tall. These would actually be low, circular walls, and the bottom of the pot would be implied. The walls could also function as public seating.

The lawn would continue to be maintained as usual outside of the flowerpots, but the interior space should be left un-maintained, a wild space for the duration of the exhibition. If possible, I would love for some of the pots to contain existing trees or shrubs.

My material would be concrete, and I would stain it to mimic a terracotta color. I would like to add recycled concrete aggregate to my concrete mix to benefit both the environment and my budget. At the close of the exhibition, I will bring these forms to a local recycling facility to be turned back into aggregate for reuse.

My expenses will include concrete, recycled concrete aggregate, stain, plywood for building forms, and transportation of materials. This would be a relatively affordable project using humble materials, and I’m sure I could realize it within the allotted budget.

These whimsical sculptures invert what normally happens in flowerpots: here, domestication happens on the outside of the pot while attention and maintenance are withheld from the interior area, allowing additional plant species to take root and reveal their potential. These discrete islands of wilderness will take shape over time and the seasons, recalling Alan’s Sonfist’s Time Landscape.

This installation will act as a foil to the domesticated areas of the park, a pocket of wilderness and biodiversity, encouraging viewers to look at the overlooked and to be aware of the complex wilderness growing in the peripheries. It draws attention to what is undervalued from our daily urban environment, how our value systems interact with both humans and non-humans, and, as Gary Snyder wondered, “where do we start to resolve the dichotomy of the civilized and the wild?”

I have been working with weeds over the past year, and I am looking forward to realizing this new idea, which I believe builds on my recent work. I am excited by the economy of this gesture and the way it plays with scale.

#DrewNewGrowth

Picture 6Picture 5

I deinstalled my sculptures from Drew University a couple of weeks ago. It was wonderful to have these pieces at my alma mater, the University in the Forest! Thanks to Kim Rhodes for coordinating the whole effort and surrounding events (panel, class visits, publications, and this instagram campaign!) Thanks to Stephanie in the facilities department and her crew for such a smooth deinstall. Thanks to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for funding the program.

These babies are now tucked in for the winter in my storage shed, although a select few of the evergreen variety may be making an appearance in my home for Christmas.

Picture 2Picture 1

Herbarium

Here are some snapshots of my project for In-Site, including a few of the installation process. These are all enlarged images of weeds from South Orange, wheatpasted onto nearby buildings. Will be editing documentation soon!

Picture 10

Picture 16Picture 11 Picture 12 Picture 13 Picture 14 Picture 15