A Bustle in Your Hedgerow + A Map of the Universe to be Found in Your Hedgerow (2015-2016)
“If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow / don’t be alarmed now” - Led Zeppellin
A project at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign to stage a site-specific design intervention near the graduate art studios.
The studios, located on the outskirts of campus, were separated from an Ameren facility (the local electric utility) by a thick tangle of osage-orange and other dense shrubbery. The origins of osage-orange hedgerow in the midwest were multi-purpose: windbreak, property definition, and keeping livestock in place. They established one’s permanent claim to a homestead, as they take years to achieve barrier-like stature. This hedgerow was defunct for all previous purposes, seemingly. Yet it had become something new: an informal reliquary or repository of sorts. On peering in from outside I could see objects dumped, hidden, and forgotten about, from both sides of the hedgerow: two imposing institutions utilizing this narrow strip of ecology.
I decided to explore the nearly impassable hedgerow from end to end, attempting to never exit out of the sides, while listening to a podcast about the Japanese spiritual practice of immersive “Forest Bathing,” which advocates the health benefits of being surrounded by photosynthesizing arboreal environments. Suited up as municipal worker to avoid attention, and wearing protective gear to mitigate the dense thorn brambles, I shot footage with a helmet-mounted Go-Pro camera, discovering decades of hidden objects, a diverse ecosystem of wildlife, and amazing light quality.
The project culminated in an exhibition of drawings, video, maps, and a zine/pamphlet. A follow-up gesture involved the insertion of a new piece of formal sculpture within the hedgerow, literally a “throwaway” part of the project, as the research process of the site generated the primary content for the project.
Zine, 5.5”x8.5”, 20pp