Final Project: An Exploration of How We View Nature

For my final project I created an environmental artwork, and also made a video which documents the piece and provides an explanation of the work and its meaning. During my presentation I will show the video, and hopefully talk about or answer any questions about the piece. Even though the audio in the video is a recording of me reading my artist statement, I have also posted it here for anyone who would like to read it:

As the national parks may be thought of as physical and ideological constructs, we may begin to question how such constructs affect how we view nature as a whole, both in terms of the surrounding landscapes we encounter every day, as well as those that we consider sacred or majestic. In the words of David Oates, “Scholars like Bolle point out that it is separateness that defines a ritual site, that keeps it recognizable and preserves its power.” Therefore, physically separating various areas across a “common” landscape may encourage us to question when and why we section off various places—such as the national parks—and as a result cause us to question the meaning of existing structures and surroundings. Therefore, the structure I created is meant to represent the boundaries we place on the natural environment in the form of national parks, wilderness areas, as well as those landscapes on which we construct our communities.

The piece is constructed out of fabric in order to suggest that the notions which define how we interact with the natural environment are malleable and fragile.  Also, I decided to create a circular form—rather than a common form used in most human-made structures, such as a rectangle—in order to further stress the idea that, although this represents a defined space, its meaning and use is organic and subject to change in direct relation to our cultural ideologies.  As a result, by creating and placing this defined structure in an unexpected place, I want to encourage people to question the structure’s purpose, as well as the meaning, or potential meaning, of the space it creates and defines.



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