|Christo's "Running Fence".|
I'm a big fan of environmental art and temporary art installations. Particularly the work of artists like Christo and Andy Goldsworthy. Transitory art is by its intent and nature more "natural" in its reflection of how we exist as human structures. Our being is constantly evolving and changing without our real notice of the fact. Minor changes need to create a cumulative affect before we are aware of distinct alterations in our physical being. (A good example of that is when person swaps fat for lean muscle tissue.) By viewing other structures transforming in space and time we gain a clearer vision about how things are possible and evolving through impermanence. Just as you can never step in the same river twice--the water is constantly flowing, you can never truly view the same thing twice. Subtle and overt differences occur through your personal projections, spiritual, political, philosophical, and emotional filters and the nature of the structure's alteration from exposure to the elements, shifts in temperature, changes in light and shadow, etc.
|Ice sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy|
Perhaps the most significant concept engendered by this type of art is how these transitory works cause the viewer to reevaluate his personal concepts of a space and recognize that fixed ideas are an illusion. Environmental art is frequently less static and more fluid than traditional 2D forms like painting. The message behind it is based on its transitory nature: "Experience me while you can".
|"Big Bambu" by the Starn Brothers|
It is also a public art in ways that much 2D art cannot be because of ownership and investment issues. You can visit a gallery to see a flat representation of the world hang on a wall but leave the piece knowing that it is in no way something you have any part in the creation of, ownership of, or lasting impact upon. You do not participate in such art. You are merely the viewer. While a work like "Big Bambu", the installation created by The Starn Twins and temporarily housed on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City was far more of a both welcoming and visceral experience. The impact of this art is immeasurable and, for people who allow themselves to be open to the experience, it can be quite thrilling. This is a revelatory experience after years of standing staring at flat pieces of art gracing walls; art that frequently becomes just decoration and has no lasting impact on the viewer other than creating a moment of beauty (or horror). Don't get me wrong, that is a fine intention for any artist to strive toward, but as a person who enjoys truly experiencing art on many levels, it leaves more than enough to be desired.
Another thing that is readily obvious from this video clip is that Mike and Doug Starn, who are identical twins, are so closely aligned with each other by dint of birth that they operate in that extraordinary realm of one mind housed in two bodies. For them it is so completely natural to finish each others thoughts it is hard to believe they are capable of existing as separate entities. For me this brings up a long list of questions about identity, ego, individuality, intimacy and sexuality. I think most of us have fantasized about what it would be like to be a twin or how it would feel to make love with twins. The Starn Brothers raise all sorts of clone fantasies for me.