Final Project_04

by cwayman1

As designers using a dynamic media, how our end product (which is never really finished) performs through time has to be continually taken into account.

Project_04 served as a study in how landscapes transform through time. We had approximately 3-4 days to develop our concepts and create an installation for the University of Tennessee Gardens that amplified some natural phenomena that might otherwise be overlooked.
Our studio was broken into four groups of two, each group assigned one of four natural forces– earth, wind, fire, or water. My partner and I chose EARTH.

We began by asking ourselves a series of questions:
What is earth?
What does earth do?
How do we engage earth?

Truthfully, these are not questions that I often ask myself and felt a bit silly doing so. But why not?

So what is earth– soil, plants, humans, life.
What does earth do– it holds, contains, supports, sustains.
How do we engage it– we walk on it, dig in it, rely on it.

Our initial ideas for the installation were to the effect of a bowl or container that would represent the earth’s capacity to support, posing the question of ‘What happens when it is full?’, but time was a limiting factor (no pun intended).

So we began collecting ideas of being ‘grounded’ or reliant on the earth and how that degree of reliance could be illustrated.

What we developed was:


The installation involved a row of sticks and branches arranged along a NNE -SSW axis, perpendicular to our regions prevailing winds. The sticks were placed in the ground at varying depths and marked to indicate their depth. Over the course of two weeks, the sticks that were not as reliant on the earth for support were knocked over by the winds, while the more grounded members stood fast. Our question to those who viewed the installation was “To what are you grounded?” To family? To faith? To your region? To the land?

Everyone’s response was different, but each held an equal importance.