The Tent, 2011
This piece is based around the concept of escapism, childhood daydreams and the natural environment. This installation reverses the environmental context by placing the natural world inside a tent-like object, subverting the traditional opposition between the safety of a camp’s interior and the external environment. This concept is derived from my childhood experiences of a tent where I would spend my time imagining a wild but fascinating jungle-like world, and this has inspired my installation’s living environment of foliage, plants and rocks. Using corrugated cardboard to create the structure of the tent was a decision based on the materials a child would actually use to create such a world, as well as its recyclable and biodegradable nature.
The decision to build this structure to scale was initially inspired by a fascination with how miniature people would experience our world, how mundane environments could be made to look and feel like a new and exciting world when contrasted with the miniature versions of the structure itself. These miniature versions were similar to those that a child would have made, but the life-sized version is big enough for a child to actually fit inside and play in. The structure is designed for flat walls so that plants can climb up them easily, and the opening is facing upwards in order to attract the most sunlight and direct it inwards. It is hoped that the small opening will also draw people closer to it, revealing a glimpse of the inside to instigate intrigue but maintaining enough obscurity to draw them in closer still. The interior of the structure will create an almost claustrophobic view, where plants of different sizes will be growing wildly and in close proximity to each other, giving the environment a forest or jungle-like feel. This environment is symbolic of a safe escape, different enough from our world to create a sense of fascination and adventure for a child, but fundamentally sheltered and close-knit like a blanket, keeping the child safe from intrusions, from danger or the unknown.