the bower project
an interactive, site-specific installation comprised of bamboo, cable ties, microcontrollers, sensors, vibrating motors, brass bells, pools of living moss
This invitational work was created in response to the ordinary and everyday theme of the exhibition, Ordinarily Here, at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis. My installation, the bower project, transformed the everyday experience of walking through a fifty-foot long corridor gallery that led people into the main galleries of the museum. This transitional architectural space was a frequent site of exhibitions, yet it's spatial gesture beckoned people forward, to pass through rather experience the space.
Heightening ones sense of the passage, the bower project re-shaped spatial, aural, and kinesthetic experience. Lengths of bamboo reach up into the sixteen-foot tall entrance area. Vaulting above people as they entered, the bamboo elements reformed the rectilinear volumes so familiar to us in most of our daily encounters with architecture. These bamboo insertions invited people to look anew at this environment and their movement through it.
Positioned as a procession of paired, arching forms, each thicket of bamboo is made of variable sizes and fastened together with vibrant blue cable ties that punctuate the energetic lines of the structures. Inspired by the bowerbird's grass constructions, which they build as courtship lures, this bamboo passageway mimics the allure of the bower. Interactive, kinetic, elements, powered by micro-computers, sensors and vibrating motors, are nested within the thickets of bamboo. These technologies activate the bower's sonic atmosphere. The occasional percussive sound of bamboo rapping upon bamboo called out as people walked through and the sheen of small bells ringing in response to people's movement enlivened the experience of the passage as well.