Fritz Haeg: Creating Habitats for the Habitat-challenged
It's too late, of course, to reverse the destruction of pristine habitat that's been cut down, churned up, or paved over to make way for the modern human lifestyle. But that doesn't mean we can't coexist with wildlife, even in our cities — or our art galleries. Animal Estates, a new exhibition by L.A. artist Fritz Haeg just stationed in Portland, Oregon, creates "model homes" for people-ousted animals and shows them off in a gallery setting, at the same time encouraging city residents to create their own real-life animal dwellings where they live, work, and play. Each gallery-installed "estate," made to fit the needs of native animal "clients," is overseen by a local expert who provides information on the species' habits and advises estate-builders on construction and placement of new dwellings.
“Animal Estates explores the relationship between human and animal existence,” declares Haeg. “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, skyscrapers, and neighborhoods.”
Besides being an artist, Haeg is also an architect and activist whose interdisciplinary projects have appeared all over the world. His stated goal? “Subverting the role of the human as the dominant occupant of the planet.”
In Portland, the Center for Biological Diversity's own conservation biologist Tierra Curry wrote about and helped Haeg choose the local animals that might benefit from human-made habitats. Her essay on the northwestern garter snake is now part of the exhibit.
Get specifics and learn more about the species on the Animal Estates Web site.
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|Bald eagle © Robin Silver;
Animal Estates habitat © Shawn Records
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