h1

“reterrarium” or “how to use rabbits to represent scale”

06/24/10

note: just to give a lay of the land to anyone who’s reading and our future selves when we forget what all of this is: we’re revisiting the logistics of terrarium.  designs, aims, etc.  taking the initial proposal and reassessing from lessons learned over the last year, evolution, devolution, etc.  each of us took the initial proposal and did what we wanted–fantastical, practical, conceptual, theoretical, literal, physical, liminal, subliminal, criminal, half-baked, fully-baked, dough-like–and sent each other notes and sketches.  with the hopes of seeing where everyone’s minds are at, where we coincide, where we don’t, and where we go from here.  drew and jack have posted their ideas in previous posts.  here’re some of my scribbles and (in)articulations…

* design for smaller, individual terrariums
– smaller terrariums representing the individual
modular terrariums, made from materials that are easy to find, anyone can make, and are constructed in using the least material possible, and therefore efficient in maximizing material. planks of wood are harder to come by, as well as transport. lengths of wood (2x4s, strips, dowels) are easier to come by, easier to transport. glass/plexi hard to come by, plastic bottles are easier to come by. at the same time, as learned from aquarium and warned by hmk, there’s a pretty tight infrastructure in place for plastic bottle recycling, and in bulk, actually pretty hard to come by. on other hand, plastic bags are easy to come by (and can make rope), and are also easy to transport. so both lengths of wood and plastic bags could possibly be prepped before going to hoorn, thereby saving lots of time scavenging everything everything.

so… use these lengths of wood to build basic frames. terrariums are triangular, modular and shallow. use plastic bags to create the base of terrariums — waterproof, and if fused and stretched + basic frame underneath, can offer a pretty solid base for even heavy items. also, no need for sealant.

in terms of using 3d space, terrariums can be cut to different heights, also angled.  also, don’t have to raise terrariums also; legs not necessary.  though lots of possibilities can come with playing with height. stacking terrariums for example?

* design for triptych
– triptych representing the cluster/group
made up of smaller terrariums; don’t know if this has to be a “triptych” or adhere to specific number 3. i imagine it more as representative of the possibilities when people work together, for better or worse. so putting together a cluster of smaller terrariums, perhaps they are distinguished in being larger in size. maybe we configure it, and the whole thing is very orderly and serves as a pretty obvious altar. or, it is configured and so overloaded with vegetation that it starts taking over itself, cannibalizing the wood and structure, and by the end of the exhibit, the “manmade” elements have more or less fallen, and it’s transformed into a monster of vegetation. us letting nature do its thing, start taking over.

* designs a floorplan for the installation
– smaller terrariums are arranged along the city map of hoorn; each terrarium more or less representing a house/building (aka individual) and triptych representing a communal space (aka hmk)
– triptych set where hmk would be on the map

* materials for the installation — where from and what?
– scrap wood, plastic bags, plastic bottles — materials that are readily accessible and in bulk
– indigenous plants that are also hardy and easy to come by — moss, grass, ivy, ferns, whatever’s growing in the area at the time. plants that are easy to grow and can be transported/replanted if need be — weeds, essentially
– additional non-organic materials to add to the visual mix?

* idea of what to do with the terrariums at the end of the installation
give to people who want them. if no one wants them, plant the rest, break down and recycle materials. loved this aspect of aquarium–that all the materials for the aqueduct/pipes were so easy to break down and recycle, that it was literally zero-waste.    bottles recycled; plastic bag rope recycled; steel returned to scrap yard.  also that i know at any time, if/whenever i want to, because the materials are accessible (except the stell, i suppose; but any stick/bar would do), the construction simple, it can be recreated easily and in that way still “exists.”  with both aquarium and planetarium that these are more the beginnings rather than the ending of possibilities; that we’ve constructed objects and spaces that any layman can construct, can take basic designs and material and build upon them.  like legos.  that this is larger than us.  because, well, it is.  (same can be more or less said with planetarium, paper if we’d actually recycled the paper or used the fire to some purpose, though not with the frame which was a recycled pvc frame from another installation)

notes on concept/questions
– individual terrariums and “triptych”/cluster as representation of human individual/society — akin to religious architecture (churches, temples, gudwaras) which reflect the structure of the universe and humanity’s role within it…
– continuing idea of “parts of a whole” running through other installations
– terrarium as a representation of what it would be like if natural environment was central to thought/behavior.
– terrarium installation as incubator/nursery for plants but also ideas; reclamation space as a germinating space, literally and metaphorically
– made of materials easy, accessible, modular — anyone can make, and uses materials efficiently (meaning, not so much waste). this doesn’t necessarily mean we end up using our time the most efficiently–an interesting thing to consider. this idea of “efficiency” and time.
– meditating on what happens when you domesticate wilderness…
– non-interference/minimal interference as action — in conceiving of an installation that attempts to maximize materials and as representation, to essentially bring the nature available in hoorn inside to hmk, addressing some questions about modes of thought related to “action” — social, environmental, otherwise. since reclamation’s inception, there’s been a lot of questioning regarding utility. what’s the purpose/point/function in making a planetarium out of thousands of sheets of office paper or an aqueduct that doesn’t work so well to water a garden that’s getting too much water from a very rainy february? but i wonder, why the fixation on utility? just because we are working with tangible problems, does that mean art has to be equally tangible in its utility? is it not enough to try to make something beautiful by using readily-available materials and incubating/growing what’s already there? if it is not enough, why does there have to be more? i also wonder if this mode of thinking–in equating utility, repurposing, in tinkering as intervention and addressing environmental and social issues, is actually systemic to the problem. the best thing to do to revitalize an ecosystem is to just let it be–chernobyl is a perfect example of this. in the case of some endangered species, there’s the breeding, incubating, reintroduction into the wild programs, etc. which also seek minimal interference, though there is obviously interference in this instance. if the whole planet’s at risk, flora/forests, etc. then even the least exotic of species are in danger–what if this is our version of these programs? maybe this a contradiction of thought? we (humans) are incredibly resourceful, coming up with a myriad ways to use anything and everything — but it’s both a blessing and a curse. it allows us to look at things in so many ways and rethink things (the hammer that isn’t the hammer), but it can also make us greedy (look at all the ways we can use oil — let’s rape the world of oil!). not sure if i’m being clear here; actually, very aware that i’m probably not. but also aware that continuing will just make things longer, not clearer. so stopping here for now.

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