Sculpture

After the Suburbs…
January 11th, 2011

January 2011

Kiang Gallery

THE AMERICAN SUBURBS OF THE 20TH CENTURY ARE NOTORIOUSLY BRANDED:
BRIGHT, SAFE AND BRAND-NEW. THE HOMES AND THE TIGHTLY SYMMETRICAL SHRUBBERY
IDEALIZE ORDERED GARDENS, COMFORT AND SPACIOUSNESS. THIS ENVIRONMENT IS
MYTHOLOGIZED AS THE ULTIMATE, AFFORDABLE EDEN, WHERE THE WILDERNESS OF BOTH
THE COUNTRY AND THE CITY CENTERS ARE MANAGED AT A CONTROLLABLE DISTANCE.
HOWEVER, THE NEW CENTURY BRINGS AN ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE ON THE SUBURBS, AS
THEY GROW MORE COMPLEX AND SHIFT BACK OUT OF HUMAN CONTROL. UNSUSTAINABLE
AND OVERBUILT, WE WITNESS THE SUBURBS AS THEY BECOME HAVENS FOR IMMIGRANTS,
AGRICULTURE, SMALL BUSINESS, BOHEMIANS AND UNDERGROUND ACTIVITY.
WHILE AMERICAN STYLE “THE SUBURBS” ARE NOW MANUFACTURED IN THE CENTER THE
FOREIGN CITIES, AGING SUBURBS, ABANDONED BY COVERT COMMERCIALISM HAVE A CHANCE
TO BE REPURPOSED. SUBURBIA NOW MATURES INTO A MUCH MORE INTERESTING PLACE.
THE SPIRIT OF ITS ORIGINAL UTOPIA MAY STILL REMAIN (ALBEIT TRANSMOGRIFIED),
AS THAT PASTORAL, YET URBAN AMERICAN SPACE.
-K.TAUCHES

Suburbs vs. moss
November 22nd, 2010

Suburbs-

We want green, but we want to control it.  Mow it, trim it, contain it, cut it, if it doesn’t behave or doesn’t fit our plans, poison  it, kill it.

False sanitary neatness, cleanliness …Birds are ok as long as they don’t poop on our car.   Chipmunks are cute as long as they don’t wreck our flower beds.  The suburbs are an enormous human conceit, an attempted refabrication of Nature into a safe, sterile, unsurprising womb.  The moss chair is a form of dialectic concerning urban and suburban cultural blindness.  Urbanites and suburbanites have become the non-cognoscenti of the natural planet.  Children grow up afraid to splash in creeks and catch frogs, bugs, or play with caterpillars.

In our attempts to control Nature  we have exterminated entire species of animals: amphibians, insects, birds, fish, mammals…By reorganizing Nature according to our artificially generated organizational grid, we have actually weakened and poisoned the natural systems that sustain us, the plant transpiration and rain cycles that provide us with the very water and air we depend on.  By poisoning icky, crawly critters like insects,  we have decimated the insect pollinators which are responsible for 30% of the food we eat (all fruits and vegetables.)

We have killed the beneficial microbes that create healthy soils, leaving us to rely upon better food through chemistry, an unsustainable and poisonous proposition at it’s best.  Our rich, vibrant soils, communities of live microorganisms and their products, are dying via our arrogance, eroding away to the bare, infertile, sterile mineral substrates or subsoils.

We are big, so we are important.  In ecological terms, however, the smaller something is, the more important it may be.  Perhaps we will lose our fisticuffs with the small, icky, insentient microbes that truly run the planet, and the plants that depend upon them.

My next few installations are using live plant material.  I will be updating this post with pictures as the three projects I am currently working on are being assembled.

Urban earth FAQ, FMC
November 14th, 2007

Kids are great. They don’t ask you what art is- they tell you:

“It’s a cave.”

“It’s a fort. ”

“It’s a castle.”

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Urban Tumulus: 11,000 pounds out of 12,500 pounds
October 15th, 2007

Jessica Marshall E., Michael and I made 12,500 pounds of adobe bricks for the Urban Tumulus installation this past July. Earth, sand, straw, water. Each air-dried brick measures 5 inches by 10 inches by 16 inches, and weighs 50 pounds. I don’t know how heavy they were when they were wet and newly unmolded. We made 250 bricks. The weather was damnably hot, bright, and dry, the hottest week of the summer, with temperatures ranging from 98 to 103 degrees. Making adobe is brutal physical labor, each day we needed to make between 35 -45 bricks. At the end of each day we were trashed. All of us who were involved with the project have a deep appreciation for the labor that goes into building an adobe dwelling.

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Jessica Marshall E.’s perspective
October 12th, 2007

Wrapped in a sweeping coat of compost, Urban Tumulus is a process in existence.  Its mass is substantial and gives it a presence that wants embracing.  Drawn to the internal womb I find it welcoming and comforting.  Once inside it is safe and hard to leave but never the least bit claustrophobic. Read the rest of this entry »