Brigham Baker

There they pile up, the tires that have long become obsolete. What roads have they rolled down to end up here of all places? Here, in this well-tended garden with so much natural d├ęcor, they are obviously out of place. Although Brigham Baker's installation Environs at first makes one think of a dystopian assemblage in which the tires have had their day once and for all, the installation also holds utopian potential. Perhaps a small ecosystem can unfold in this place, which is now gently being illuminated.

That of all things a niche created by our industrial world can become a thriving ecosystem was displayed by a US study conducted in the early 1990s in urban areas of Florida. It found that more than half of the mosquitoes hatch from their larvae in discarded tires. This amount increases proportionally with increasing urbanization. So, let's conduct a thought experiment: if the tires were to stay in this garden for a long time, they might take on an ecological purpose like that of the nearby pond.  Such man-made ponds were characteristic of 18th century landscape gardens. Their aesthetic effect was intended to create a harmonious relationship between man and nature. It was only as time passed that their ecological function was recognized.

Despite their industrial form and materiality, the possibility of creating a valuable habitat is inherent in the hoops. In view of this, it seems all the more sensible to question the separation between man-made and supposedly natural environments.

Environs, 2023, tires, LED