Call for Readers' Thoughts
By Ann Klefstad
August 6, 2002

We're looking for your thoughts on the relationship of environment--the place where you live or work--and making. Please, write those thoughts down and email them to me at [email protected], and I'll post them here, one at a time, day by day. Even a sentence is long enough; try to keep your contribution under 250 words. It has often seemed to me that the only reason artmaking survives is that it intensifies perception, and that intensified perception of place will be necessary to the preservation of the balance of the world. But portentiousness aside, let's trade some ideas on place and making, for the hell of it, to keep ourselves awake. Here's something like what I mean (you may mean something completely different):

Design and place: Urban, rural

Ferns are thick this time of year along the paths in the woods. In bushy armfuls they hide the deer trails, make it hard to recognize the way to the clearing. Back a month or so ago, they were fiddleheads, little curled spirals flecked with deep brown, just coming out of the fragrant dirt. Seeing them now, one must recognize the dynamism there was in those small spirals, now hundreds of times larger, unfolded.

In the city, we think of design as something people make up, something willful, even capricious, because the forms we see are mostly manmade, almost exclusively so. Design comes from outside the object and is imposed upon it, sometimes with regard to its eventual function, sometimes not. Here, though, in the woods, there are millions of objects/entities, all with complex and generally regular forms, designs, if you will, and these designs are self-generated, produced by the object itself, out of not will but DNA. And this information, this "design," is not created by the entity alone, by the fern, the tree, the forb, but by the immense web of exigency that surrounds the entity--the shape of the entity, its design, is the shape of the possible amid all the other existants. The forest is a symbiotic web of designs, each originating from within each entity, and each entity formed by the peremptory edges of all the other beings' forms.

MN Artists