In the spring robins form constellations on the ground of our city parks and front lawns. We walk past and the constellations shift as the robins adjust to a more comfortable distance. In this installation, the circle surrounding each bird references the flight initiation distance or flight zone, the distance that a person can approach a wild animal before it takes flight. I make the barrier between animal and human tangible by sifting a circular dusting of dirt around each cast bronze robin. A person cannot tread within the flight zone without damaging its now material surface.
Flight Zones was installed in the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum in the summer of 2013. This installation acquired new meaning within the context of a decorative arts museum. Within this setting I further explored the boundaries between interior and exterior, public space and private residence, and ultimately natural and cultural landscapes.
Originally, I thought that simply making the flight zone tangible would encourage a more pronounced awareness of where one treads. If someone enters this visible flight zone he/she will leave his/her footprint. However, in thinking that this would be a deterrent, I was underestimating the appeal of making one’s mark. In this piece about natural boundaries, I misunderstood the allure of trespassing.
All of my work concerns the paradoxical nature of boundaries. The natural defenses of prey against predator [flight zones] are juxtaposed with the abstract boundaries erected in neighborhoods [fences.] A fence is erected as a deterrent for the unwelcome. And now I have found, even as the flight zone is distancing an animal from harm, it is tempting others to draw too close. In Flight Zones, the boundary I interpreted as near sacred in its naturalness, is just as susceptible to trespass as a yard surrounded by a chain link fence.