less ‘proposal’ more ‘proposition’


A re-consideration of our Terrarium proposal:

I would like to begin Terrarium now.
Make Craigslist ads for the materials we’ll need. Use the Internet to make Friends where we’ll be going. Start the scavenger hunt today.
Consider the getting there as its very own ‘there’. A part of the project, yes.

In the space: an Altar, a Triptych, a congregational area defined by Window Gardens.

ALTAR: In my mind it is a perfect glass rectangular prism full of rotting waste. Compost, soil, worms. Egg shells, skins and coffee grounds. In reality our Altar could be a simple surface for sacrifice! Jack says a table made of lumber scraps, tree trimmings and glass made by a huge bonfire we burn on the beach.

TRIPTYCH: In my memory it is a beautiful piece of work. Simple, modern, futuristic perhaps – craftsmanship meets magic! In reality it could be not-so-clean, maybe more modern in that it forgoes mid-century aesthetics for that post-apocalyptic feel… Here’s where the compost comes in. And away with the arbitrary difference between the three! All of them compost. All of them waste. Earth and scraps and worms.

WINDOW GARDENS: I believe we can make these triangular. A simple equilateral frame constructed of wood – 2×4’s are fine! – with two pieces of glass. ‘Front’ side piece of glass fully connects with frame on all three sides (like a window); ‘back’ side is not triangular but trapezoidal leaving a small triangular space for hand to enter, to drop pebbles and charcoal, soil and seeds. Jack says mushrooms, I say mint. Let’s say mushrooms and mint?!

As for presentation and maintenance, there is much to discuss. Lighting! Watering! I’d like to make the most of the sun’s rays, both for the sake of the plants and for my own. Perhaps arranging our objects in such a way that time can be told by what is illuminated? Perhaps ensuring that there is often a sunny spot facing the altar? And sunny stripes just for the mint? Perhaps keeping one corner always dark? And shadowed shapes for the mushrooms.

The altar and the triptych should look POWERFUL day and night. This, I assume, will require a Lighting Design.

Everything needs to drink! Mint can be kept in water alone. I propose the simplest form of watering is to gather our gray water, filter and serve to plants daily/change it weekly. In turns or together.

A ritual ‘feeding’ of the compost would be a nice way to start or end each day. Maybe a worm hunt is pre-requisite for this piece…
What about other waste? Bottles and papers and packaging and cans? These should go in, too. Perhaps this is where we find a natural separation…
Now it needs to be noted that if our Triptych displays our waste, we and our bodies are part of the process. What we eat becomes an artistic decision. Jack says one section just for egg shells. Beautiful! I say let’s get a chicken in the courtyard then and keep it in the family. Jack says one section for rotting meat. I say why why why? Why not restrict our diets as part of the project? I’m not expecting any conversions! Just proposing some extra awareness and purpose to our consumption – we could eat oranges and bananas one day to brighten up the triptych. Just the act of considering the food waste before choosing the food…

Inside the time and space of TERRARIUM there are infinite possibilities for performance. Each morning, COMMITTED. Every Saturday, RITUAL/MUSIC. Imaginary Wilderness Boundaries, Mint & Mushroom/Grey Water Tea Party, glass making bonfires, Gulf Coast Disaster Lecture and Hot Oil Rubdown! Occasionally or as regularly as possible, workshops and lectures and readings and gestures and dance and silence and talk.

24/7 documentation via fixed video cameras streaming online all the time. Recording to hard drive. Confessional camera captures secrets, apologies, and rants. Primary camera relates all Terrarium events and happenings to the World At Large.

Let’s go to town. A lot.

Let’s invite the town in.

Anytime anybody asks for a piece of Terrarium, it is theirs. When we finish, all unclaimed bits are offered to the public. A yard sale where everything is free! All leftovers are buried or installed in public space. Biodegradable time capsules.

There could be much to do with leftover compost – Fertilize public gardens or private. Upset someone. xMud fight.

materials: glass, scrap wood, lumber, water, wax, mint, mushrooms, nails, screws, spray paint, stone, dirt, rope, bobby pins, and compost.


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