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Mechanical Forest

Check out what’s happening in the world of contemporary architecture:  a “forest” environment made from machinery which responds to external stimuli.  The elegance in movement is mesmerizing.  Inspiration can be found in the organic creation constructed of such a hard, non organic material .  Mimicking several familiar images in nature (think jellyfish, vines, spider-web) the installation takes on a life of its own.

The installation, which was Canada’s contribution to the 2010 Venice Biennale, reminds me of some installation work by Eva Hesse:

Like the Hylozoic Ground Project, Hesse worked with unexpected material such as fiberglass, latex, and plastics to create organic shapes. The humanity captured by both artists draws a sort of compassion from the viewer.  From a distance, the shapes are organic and soft.  However, up close the viewer is confronted with a harsher reality, perhaps even surprise.  A complete juxtaposition of organic vs. non organic. An uneasiness arises from being tricked, and initially the artist is forgotten and the material is blamed.  The Hylozoic exhibition presents the idea that technology can be disguised…that is, with some manipulation, the machine disappears like a chameleon into a completely different entity.  We provide the manipulation but my mind easily wanders to a scenario where “the machine” takes on a disguise that it doesn’t want to revert from.  And perhaps we aren’t so far from that; after all we have created a mechanical forest the self propels movement, digests, and “breathes”.

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