Tuesday, July 16, 2013


something beneath, behind, or within which a person, animal, or thing is protected from storms, missiles, adverse conditions, etc.; refuge.

I'm thinking about shelters as an animal behavior. A survival mechanism of scavenging your surrounds and collecting objects to create a haven. Birds make structures by gathering all sorts of items. Bottle caps, shells, nuts, twigs and glass are used to make their place of security. Bower birds take it even further and use their shelter building skills to express their identities during complex mating rituals. The shinier, prettier, more colorful and interesting their abode - the more females they attract. Sound familiar?

I think you can see where this is going. As humans we objectify things for our own needs. In my show at Fruitlands Museum, THE NOBILITY OF THINGS, I talk about the fact that objects are created for two purposes - to be used and to be possessed. They represent memory, science, social history and heritage. As Daniel Miller says "Objects make us as much as we make objects".

So... a can opener, baskets, computers, toys, furnishings, clothing and other homegoods all serve the dual purpose of utility and expression. We use them for what they are, but also to define who we are. Even more, materiality seems to be an impulse found in all types of shelters... even those without an actual roof overhead.

I'm just beginning to process these ideas and starting to see parallels within contemporary society, politics and recent economic disasters. How one can be blinded by both desire and greed in the pursuit of seeking refuge from the elements.

I've been collecting objects for the outdoor sculptures to be installed at Fruitlands this summer. Animal shelters of human objects that one might find in the wild. We'll see how it goes... stay tuned for updates!

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