This week I deinstalled my temporary contribution to this year’s Heights Boulevard Sculpture Project, a chore that I estimated would take a couple of hours. I was so convinced of the ease and promptness of the task, that I didn’t even bring a bottle of water. Going to find a restroom will just slow me down, I thought.
Nine hours later, with night falling, and three trips to the neighborhood CVS behind me, I would have laughed at my hubris, had my entire body not been throbbing in pain from crouching over in the median all day.
Earlier that morning, when my spirits were still high and I was able to smile at the cluster of walkers who lamented my position and posture, I’d reveled in noticing fungi implanted on and among the plastic pieces. A good portion of the work was also totally invisible under a layer of fallen leaves when I began and I was disturbing a plentiful population of worms, ants, and grubs in the removal process.
So I reached out to an artist friend, admittedly first with mushroom identification questions, and subsequently out of concern that my art project had inadvertently damaged to this small piece of ecosystem. This irony that would have stung, considering all the noise I make about my practice being reverential to the environment. Falon assured me that I was merely aerating the soil, and as a licensed landscape architect, I do trust that she was not just trying to make me feel better.
If I learned anything from the experience, besides the confirmation that it’s better safe than sorry on the mushroom tip, it’s that it never hurts to bring a refreshment. I also feel pretty sure that I never need to do anything like this again. And by that I mean place thousands of individual things somewhere that I later have to remove. For anyone else, this would not be much of a proclamation. Since I’ve spent much of the last decade building an art practice that more or less follows this formula, however, it feels big. And I’m as curious as you are to see what that means visually and physically for forthcoming projects…