Imagine walking down your average city street in America. Especially in an area hard hit by economic collapse. Storefronts lie vacant, the streets are barren, paint peels off weather worn walls, and signs which once advertised booming businesses rust and droop from caving in facades. Tired, the city sighs the sullen exhalation of years of neglect. On such streets, nature waits patiently, longing for the day of its verdant return. In broken sidewalks, sprouting up amidst the cracks, grass springs up in tufts of green spray. The roots of trees, with herculean effort, push up concrete slabs as if trying to free themselves of their shackles. Animals scurry at night, leery of headlights and the thunderous whir of spinning wheels on the tired pavement.
Now imagine, for a moment at least, that this gray world, sprouted forth from its own refuse, an organic landscape vibrant with color, texture, and alive in flowing form. In windows, storefronts, across buckling walls, bursting out of floors and ceilings – a coral like mass of alien like life forms transforming space into scenes of beauty and grace. This is my vision. This is COLONY.
The first in a series of unique organic looking installs that transform under-utilized and abandoned space into flowing organic looking sculptural landscapes. Like an invasive species out competing its rivals, these colonies will spread. Anywhere there is ruin, a Colony may take seed. So, as you walk, numbed by worry or transfixed by the soft light of technical gadgetry, please remember to take notice of the life around you – for in some forgotten recess or a crack in a crumbling wall, you may just stumble upon a new world. A world filled with strange life forms -- a colony that no other eyes have seen before. Now go forth and explore.
The above is a picture of the finished install.
My original idea for the Colony install was to create a flowing organic sculptural piece which covered all four walls of the room in which I was installing in. However, several problems proved too much to overcome. For one, the walls in this room were in bad shape with the plaster cracking in places and in one spot missing entirely. I was worried that the weight of the piece would not be supported by the plaster of the walls. I was also worried that since I was going to have to use hundreds of nails, that more plaster would crack and fall off the walls further endangering my install. Originally I had thought to glue most of the pieces onto the wall, but being that I wanted to get all of my pieces back, and that the glue would be close to impossible to pry off the wall, I decided against the wall install and went with the floor instead.
Before I decided however, to abandon the wall install, I began laying all of my pieces out on the floor. The following pictures show this series of events.
The above three pictures constituted the totality of the amount of material I had at the beginning of the Colony install. The original layout was haphazardly created. I was trying to gauge how much space the material would take up and whether or not I was going to be able to cover all the walls in the time allotted to me.
The above picture represents how much material I had after a little more than a month of work.
After another month or so of work the above is how much material I had completed. Creating my work is a painstaking process which takes months of intricate work.
With a few weeks to go before the deadline I decided to do away with the flowing design and instead switch to a circular design with an inner and outer circle which consisted of different materials.
After nearly five months of work the Colony install was finally finished. The following pictures represent the piece from a multitude of vantage points.
The above two pictures capture the sweep of the circle's arc going separate directions.
The following pictures are of the inner circle.
The Following two pictures are of the finished install.
Materials used: Cardboard tubes of various sizes, paint, dye, various salts, oatmeal, cotton swabs, various yarns and fabrics, plaster, styrofoam, cardboard, various sands, and plaster. This is not a comprehensive list of materials but does represent the most common types used. Spring to summer 2013.