Revenge of the Lawn was commissioned by the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum as part of its Lawn Nation exhibition, and was exhibited from May 23rd to September 7th, 2008. It was created in collaboration with Sarah Phillips and Jonah Goldstein.
Revenge of the Lawn is a durational installation that examines our culture’s estrangement from organic processes and pokes fun at our desire to master the natural world. Revenge of the Lawn presents a typical living room scene made out of furniture that has been reupholstered with soil and seeds. It is a fantasy environment designed to encourage “nature” to reclaim “man-made” objects and permeate the boundary between Indoor and Outdoor, calling attention to the arbitrariness of these binaries. As the tableau of tranquil domesticity is progressively threatened by overgrowth, it calls to mind apocalyptic or science-fiction scenarios. Although the title is campy and the piece’s overall effect is humorous, there is a darker edge that hints at an out-of-balance world in which humans are no longer present.
Revenge of the Lawn was originally created in 2003 but was completely redesigned for the 2008 version. The installation was presented on a public pathway in the heart of Lincoln Park, adjacent to the museum entrance, in a room-like stone courtyard surrounded by native prairie flora and fauna. The sculpture featured hand-sewn panels containing soil and seeds that were upholstered to the surfaces of the furniture. Several other items such as slippers, dishes, and a spoon were seeded as well and contributed to the domesticity and humor of the site. A drip/spray irrigation system was integrated into the installation site. A networked video camera, built into a custom weather- and theft-proof enclosure, took pictures of the growth every 15 minutes and uploaded the images to a remote server, where they were combined into time-lapse video. The resulting videos and live camera feed were viewable on my site revengeofthelawn.com. The whole system – watering, image capture, and video rendering – functioned autonomously with minimal human intervention.
The Making Of Time-lapse: