I'm interested in taking
objects out of their original context and putting them in a new one, and,
in doing so, creating something completely different. I like contrasts
in the environment, but I don't want my work to contrast like cursing
— it should be subtle. It should be part of the environment, but
not dominate it. I try to use material that is already on the site (grass,
willows, water), but I use it in another way because I want people to
see that something different has happened there.
In projects in urban areas, this process is extremely complicated. There
are urban planners, architects, the provincial road building department,
the national forestry department, the highway department, the water department,
and they all have something to say. I usually cope with about 15 different
disciplines when working in the public space. Because of this, one is
forced into a position where compromise would be the easy way out. For me
this is part of the game - to give and take, but never to lose my original
idea. About one third of all my concepts are realized. If you are an architect or landscape
architect, the officials take you very seriously, but if you are an artist,
like me, they can look at you like you are crazy.
When working in rural locations, you have a lot more freedom. But still,
you always have to fight to convince people of the value of your idea.
Working in rural places has its own set of problems — it's much
more difficult to distinguish the work from its surroundings without it
screaming, "Look at me, I'm art." I don't want to make art that
is holy, but I do want people to see that there has been someone struggling
to bring an idea to life.
I want to prompt people to think a little bit differently about where
they are - to think, there is more here. These projects are meant to be
experienced by everyone, every day, and they can change with people and
time. They are not static and neither are their surroundings.
"Whose Woods Are These?" - Dwell Magazine - January|February 2003