Ensemble for Jackson, Wyoming
sponsored by the Jackson Art Association and the Land Trust, 2000 consists of ISLAND GRIDDED FOR GROWTH and SPACE FOR OBSERVING MOUNTAINS, HEARING BIRDSONG AND WATER TRICKLE
ISLAND GRIDDED FOR GROWTH is 80' in diameter and almost perfectly round. Willow was planted in a grid and woven into low fences. The entire island was colonized in this way as a metaphor for the way we humans take over, grid and develop most land under our dominion. There is a housing shortage in Jackson. While I was working there, a town meeting on the subject overflowed the space in which the meeting was held. A Wyoming state conservation employee, for example, reported that he must drive over the mountain from Idaho, he detailed not only his fuel consumption, but spoke of wear on the road surface itelf and of the tires on his vehicle, of increased usage wear on his vehicle. His desire was to live near his workplace, but this was prohibited by cost and low availability of suitable housing in Jackson. The native willow took root, grew and now provides habitat and food for numerous animals. In this way the island presents a metaphor of human use combined with a contribution to the animals who share our landscape.
In SPACE FOR OBSERVING MOUNTAINS, HEARING BIRDSONG AND WATER TRICKLE, a woven willow bench is concealed inside an earthen mound. The mound echos the form of the southern end of the Teton Range, seen in the distance. From the parking lot, the mound appears to be just this, a mound of planted earth. It's only if one takes the time to explore is the hidden form of the woven willow bench revealed. The mound also acts as a sound barrier as it muffles sound of traffic from the nearby Wilson Bridge over the Snake River, and in so doing allows audience to hear natural sounds such as birdsong or wind in the trees. A 100' long section of irrigation tubing is planted underground leading from the irrigation drop-box and into the back of the bench. This sound tube brings the sound of trickling water to a spot at about ear-height in the back of the bench. The bench is over 20' long and 7' high at its highest point.