Sundown Salon #30: Humans Were Here!, 2006
The Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT is pleased to host artist Fritz Haeg and his project Animal Estates, 2008, during the week of April 14th. While at MIT, Haeg will give a talk on his work on Wednesday, April 16 at 6:30 and, with the help of MIT students and artists, build one installment of Animal Estates, a new series of dwellings thoughtfully designed to welcome an animal back into the city. CAVS will host the American Kestrel Falcon and the Tree Sparrow.
The Center is the third stop on Haeg’s international project —the first was built in New York as part of the Whitney Biennial, which perched a giant eagles nest on the Whitney’s façade, while others will appear at Arthouse, Austin, TX; the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD; The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Cooley Gallery, Portland OR; Alaska Design Forum, Fairbanks, AK; and Casco Projects, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Haeg writes, “As animal habitats dwindle daily, Animal Estates proposes the reintroduction of animals back into our cities, strip malls, garages, office parks, freeways, front yards, parking lots and neighborhoods… Aanimals are alternately viewed as exotic specimens to be treated as spectacle, cartoon characters that are anthropomorphized, friendly companions to be coddled, objectified resources to be exploited, inconveniences to be tolerated, pests to be eradicated or anonymous unseen creatures to which we are indifferent. Animal Estates intends to provide a provocative 21st century model for the human-animal relationship that is more intimate, visible and thoughtful.”
During an intensive workshop, Haeg and MIT community members will build and install individual homes for two birds: the American Kestrel Falcon, and the Tree Swallow. These birds have a limited presence in the Cambridge area, but by building custom-made houses and placing them throughout the MIT campus, the dwellings will hopefully attract and retain these native species as well as provide thoughtful markers of their presence. A companion installation by Center artist Pam Larson will be shown in the Center’s front gallery and include a video feed from the Kestrel house placed on the top of the building that houses the Center.
Fritz Haeg established the Fritz Haeg Studio in 1995 in New York City before moving his practice to Los Angeles in 1999. He founded Sundown Schoolhouse in 2006 as an alternative education environment. He has produced projects and exhibited work at Tate Modern; the Whitney Museum of American Art; Mass MoCA; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; the Wattis Institute; the Netherlands Architecture Institute, Maastricht; and the MAK Center in Los Angeles, among other institutions. His first book,
Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn
, will be published by Metropolis Books and distributed by D.A.P. in February 2008.