Monday, September 2, 2013

Contemporary Outdoor Art - Video

Contemporary Art

This artwork all appears to have been created in just the last few years.  

In addition, there was also a circle of carved wooden feet that I didn't get any video of.  I wish I did now, but at the time, I didn't take that footage.  I might have a picture of them, but I will have to dig a bit to find it - provided such a picture exists.   

If you have information on any of this artwork or the artists, it would be great if you would share that information on this page, in the comment section below.    It would be wonderful to learn more about this artwork from multiple different perspectives - all collected on a single page.  

I will attempt to share my impressions, ideas and inspired commentary in the following sections and paragraphs.  I would love to hear your thoughts as well.  Use the comment section below if you have any thoughts, ideas or information to share.

Sky Castle

To me, one of the most interesting contemporary pieces was the 'sky castle' or  'Luft Schloss' in German. 

The Other Wooden House

The other wooden house appears to have been created by an art professor in the US.   

How Did This Come About? 

I do not know what brought about this collection.  I can only guess that there was some International collaboration between art schools.   Each one sent a representative to contribute to the outdoor collection. 

Again, that is my speculation.  If you have some information about what this was all about, I would love to hear from you.  Use the comment section below this writing to comment. 

The Musical Instrument

The musical instrument  was very interesting indeed.  You can see there is a sheet of plexiglass protecting the wood.   We guess that in the summer time, they actually put the strings on and people can pluck them.  

But, in the winter, as we imagine it, there would be too much damage due to the water.   Perhaps they cover it in the winter and allow it to be used in the summer.

The Tree Hugger

The Tree Hugger piece was also quite interesting.   I didn't quite 'get it' at first but it starting making sense to me later.   Nature is so vast and beautiful.   There is something to be said for the people who go to great length to protect mother nature and animals' habitats too.  

They regard the Earth as a shared resource.  They feel that man should give pause and consideration to the other creatures in this world who don't have a voice in congress and parliaments or other governing bodies. 

Some people have been known to chain themselves to trees to prevent deforestation of certain areas.  These people are known as tree huggers.  In this piece, the artists may have been simply demonstrating that the joining of the 'tree hugger' to the tree was a strong bond resembling those who chain themselves to trees to prevent the loggers from cutting them down. 

The art is a tribute to the powerful statement that such individuals have made.   

Of course, this tactic does not always work.  We are moved to remember the American woman who tried to stand in front of an Israeli bull dozer.   Apparently, the driver never saw her and she was plowed over along with the structure that she was trying to protect. 

The act of such dramatic statements as chaining oneself in front of a tree or standing in front of a tank or bulldozer, creates a powerful statement.  But when it backfires, it becomes a tragedy. 

In 1989, the Chinese students who were crushed by Chinese tanks were trying to bring a more democratic reality to the hard line communist ruled China.  Their statement was immortalized in pictures of flattened people that you can still find on the Internet today.  

Be forewarned, if you search for those pictures, you WILL find them disturbing.   The Communist party has not changed and does not hesitate to torture and kill.   You can see this most notably today in the persecution of Falun Gong in China.   It is still going on today! 

I actually have a separate blog on that persecution that I stopped updating a while ago.   Never-the-less, the persecution of Falun Gong is still going on today in China. 

Not just Falun Gong, but many other groups are also persecuted as well.   There is an extensive "re-education" through labor camp system that exists in China today.  Many people are forced to work long hours making products that are sold to other countries, including the US. 

Conditions are grueling and many people die.  The food is bad.  They are not allowed to rest for very long.  You can see how such an environment attempts to 'reform' people.  In reality, it is used to punish those who dare speak up for themselves or others against the repression of the communist regime. 

There is a great set of articles about this called:  The Nine Commentaries.   It gives a very thorough explanation and history of the communist party in China.  

Therefore, this contemporary art piece about tree huggers makes a statement about how some people ignore the wishes and dreams of others for their own gain and benefit.   It's sad when ideas, hopes and wishes clash in such a violent way.  But it does happen. 

Art, like this contemporary tree hugger piece helps to embody both the positive outcomes and the tragedies that can arise from such determination.   

It's a process.   The outcome is never certain. 

The desire for a better world, however, is a noble one.  

Read more about the struggle of the Falun Gong practitioners at :

Using Nature As A Medium For Contemporary Art

This set of artwork was very impressive.  Clearly, it brought together artists from different backgrounds and experienced in different mediums.  Wouldn't it be great if such collaboration was less rare and more common.  

Why should it be so unusual to see a floating house in the middle of the woods?   Why should it be so strange to see a tribute to Henry David Thoreau in a forest that is 5 to 8 thousand miles away from the actual place that he lived in?    That is not to mention the ocean of time that has past since his days.  

Sometimes the actions of others can transcend time and influence those live a contemporary life.  

In this case, given the right mindset, you can experience that.   

Although, perhaps no longer contemporary, due to the long time it is taking to complete, Crazy Horse Mountain in South Dakota makes a very large statement as well.   The sculptor who planned the mountain has since past away, but his wife and family continue the work according to his plan.  

Since they will not accept federal dollars to complete the project, they must rely on donations from people like you and me.   This was a condition set by the chiefs that commissioned the mountain.  To take federal money would completely go against the vision and the statement that Crazy Horse Mountain makes.  

The US federal government has broken so many treaties that it made with the Native Americans that it is rather disgusting.   Crazy Horse Mountain serves to remind us of those atrocities and the nobility of one Native American who was willing to fight for the natural rights of his people.  

What a shame that he was killed in such an evil way.  He tried to do what was right.   His people have not forgotten his sacrifices and leadership.  Neither did the other leaders of the Sioux nation and therefore: Crazy Horse Mountain exists today!  

Another Example

Another example of using art as a medium is not very far from Crazy Horse Mountain.   Of the two monuments, Crazy Horse dwarfs Mt. Rushmore by many times.   

Mt. Rushmore is a very famous monument.  It features the images of Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt.   

While it is Korczak Ziolkowski's family that carries on the hopeful completion of Crazy Horse Mountain,  it is Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln that created Mt. Rushmore.  

Clearly, Crazy Horse Mountain is the response to Mt. Rushmore.  I suppose you can imagine how having for Federal presidents carved into a mountain inside the former Sioux Nation, did not sit so well with many Native Americans. 

Crazy Horse Mountain is the response to Rushmore and seeks to tell the story of what really happened in that region of the country.   Technically, because of broken treaties, that land probably should never have become part of the United States and should still belong to the Native American Sioux.   However, it didn't work out that way. 

Far Away But Still Relevant - Art Is Universal

The contemporary art depicted in the video above is far away from Rushmore and Crazy Horse.   Yet,  somehow, with a little imagination, one can see the connection.  

Art is universal.  It can transcend language barriers.  One doesn't always need an explanation to understand a painting sculptor or other medium.   In some way, the artist can speak directly to the onlooker through his art.   

Perhaps that is the reason that art often outlasts the artist.  The artist could be long gone.   Leondaro's works will never be forgotten. Art sculpted in stone will tend to last longer than many other mediums.   Art is amazing.   It can make a statement and it can have an impact.  

The Tree Hugger,  Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Mountain, all tell a story.   What that story is will be colored by the background, understanding and perception of each onlooker.  However, something of the original message will still be there to shine through.   

Perspectives of humans can change or stay the same.  The original message of the artist remains much longer.   

Henry David Thoreau Piece

The artist from the Netherland's rendition of Thoreau's cabin is one more example of how art can transcend time and space.  In this case,  our artist was trying to reach back in time.  He was inspired by Thoreau, a philosopher and statement maker of times gone by.    

The art of civil disobedience was practiced back in Thoreau and Emerson's time.   How wonderful that the message of these two men reaches modern day, contemporary artists and inspires their work.  

Making a statement that transcends time and space, it seems to me, must come from a strong adherence to Principle.   The not-willing to back down because truth is truth mentality is very hard to find.  Those who stand for something and don't lose sit of it, no matter what are the kind of people who can leave such messages in history.   

One suspects that many others made such statements but history was not kind enough to record all of those events.  We are left with the handful that we know about.   How many more noble minded people did their works and impacted the world without being recorded by history's pen?  

There may have been many.  The ideals that make up true nobility can occur in any human being.   It is just one step closer to the divine than the average human is able to make.  That's why their deeds and works stand out and can inspire artists from across the centuries.   That's the beauty of art.  Art helps us to remember that which is slightly more noble than our every day lives.   

Your Thoughts?  

I've written a great deal about and have expanded my ideas beyond the mere images that you see in the video above.   Yet, without the images, it would be harder for such thoughts to come out.  Inspiration is a kind of universal communication, isn't it?   

I suppose it is possible to attribute to an artists qualities that he doesn't actually possess.  But perhaps, in actuality, the spark of such qualities are present.  Otherwise, how could they be seen?   I guess you could argue that the spark of such qualities exist in the observer as well.    Do they exist in both or just one or the other?   That's an interesting question and I would love to hear your answer in the comment section below.  

Beauty and the interpretation of art are both in the eye (or mind) of the beholder.   Does art inspire us or merely help us to remember the more noble parts of our own innerselves?   You be the judge.  And do share your thoughts on all of this - or any part of it as you wish.  

I hope you enjoyed both the film and the commentary. 

commentary and video on modern outdoor contemporary artSincerely,

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