Arbor Project: First Place Award, Participatory Installation, Marin County Fair
Slobodan Dan Paich's Arbor Project proposal won the First Place in a competition for a temporary Participatory Installation for the Art Day at the Marin County Fair.
S.D.Paich organized groups of volunteers for six months to cut and carefully bind enough twigs to build a 50' x 8' x 10' "arbor" tunnel. At the creation of the project approximately 1000 people participated throughout the day long event.
Preparing the project:
Initially Slobodan Dan Paich and Kerry Yates cut the wood, mostly willow, in San Francisco and Marin County parks and bundled it. This wood cutting became the beginning of a life-long friendship and series of collaborations. Kerry later co-founded Augustino Dance Theater, with Slobodan Dan Paich and Augusto Ferriols.
As the day drew near to the project's culmination they were joined by more volunteers, forming a core group of about 20. This core group lead 150 to 200 participants at a time,working with about 1000 throughout the day.
The bundles of wood were stored for a number of months at the foothill supporting the Frank Lloyd Wright Marin Civic Center. This created a temporary, ever-changing exhibit enjoyed by office workers and visitors to the Civic Center.
Images from the event
A Non-verbal "Instruction Kit"
On reflection, the intangible success of this Participatory installation is in the tension between the sculptural score of the project and the actuality of making it. The participants had enough material to work with, a rudimentary scaled model as a non-verbal "instruction kit." Volunteers were there to contain them at the beginning but in the act of tying and making it work, each participant problem-solved and came to their own creative solution. The "barnraising" element of the installation brought out the collective intelligence of the project. That one could not be wrong during participation was a very important part of the experience.
Frozen Chant: Arbor Project Documentation and Exhibition
After the event, the models and drawings for the Participatory Installation were exhibited. Seen below are the original flier design by one of the community participants in the one-day event, two views from the exhibition, and Slobodan's related drawings.
Gallery exhibition of miniature architectural sculptures by Slobodan Dan Paich.
The exhibition's intention was to participate locally in extending and sharing, in depth, the ideas surrounding and leading to the one-day participatory event.
The title "Frozen Chant" was inspired by Goethe's description of architecture as frozen music. The archaic and rudimentary term "chant" seemed to fit the overall intention of the Arbor Project. The participant, through handling the natural material of wood, was brought in touch with nature.
The enormous individual and collective effort to bring this project to fruition, followed by the dismantling of it the next day, has influenced Slobodan's thinking in creating subsequent on-going projects in the community:
The preliminary drawing/collages from the proposal. The trellis of envisioned wood assembly was cut directly into the typed page to partially reveal contact prints of the site.
The Arbor Project Proposal