trash

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Stillness

They say you can’t fall into the same stream twice, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying.

One thing you can do is collect some water in bottles you find floating in the stream, and let it freeze while the year changes from old to new. The next day, cut the plastic off and you’re left with ghost bottles.

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This stream is fed by the surrounding neighborhoods, shopping centers, highways, and vestiges of green space—our traces all collect here. As they melted, these old selves were filtered through the new Matthew Henson Nature Center, adding to the collection and then getting back to business.

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Exploration

A set of wicker shelves placed in the woods.

I’ve begun a new interactive installation, in uninvited collaboration with the Maryland Parks Department.

The Matthew Henson Self-Serve Nature Center will respond to your scholarly requests in real time.

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In the general panic, many well meaning citizens converged on our suburban wilderness and removed all my raw materials. At the risk of sounding cynical, it’ll be at least a week before there’s enough new trash in the woods to make art.

But I had foreseen this unnatural upwelling of natural love, so before the weekend I went out and put tiny lights inside more than a dozen discarded bottles, causing them to glow as the woods got dark.

glowing green bottles in a twighlit forest.

There are beer fairies and energy drink fairies, it seems. The (Dutch!) beer bottle dwellers live in large neighborhoods. Energy drinkers, unsurprisingly, live in the weeds, alone.

(You can see all the installations below, or a larger slide show here.)

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There’s a tiny wilderness near my house—a remnant edge habitat that grows trees and weeds and wild animals and rusted bike frames and empty bottles.

tiny wilderness

I don’t put the empties here, but I don’t pick them up, either. It’s nice to just observe them in their natural element.

high life at night

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