When Worlds Collide: the Kingdom of Monera @ 710 South Highland
“Umwelt,” which means local or surrounding environment, was defined in 1934 by the biologist Jakob von Uexküll as being the particular environment of an organism, determined in all of its aspects by the capabilities, aptitudes and perceptions of that individual. As such, he maintained, it is impossible to know another being’s “Umwelt,” but it is possible through art and photography to invent an “image” of that environment, to achieve some comprehension of their world, however alien.
The “front yard” in American city space is a curious place, in that as property it is described in precise terms defining ownership, and yet is outlined by city ordinance to be a community-determined space. The contours of the yard that I trace at 704 S. Highland (Terrain) roughly sketch planted space in the front of the building, the sidewalk, and neighboring spaces on either side. In many ways we “share” these spaces with our neighbors, as well as with the multitude of organisms that occupy them outside the scope of property deeds.
In order to explore the notion of occupied space that is simultaneously shared by a multitude of organisms, I have transferred the shape of Terrain to a neighboring yard (Terrain South), and, using paint and photographic imagery, introduced images of bacteria (the taxonomic Kingdom of Monera), an organism that is present in all of our environments.
The photographs are of Romanian cucumbers, that were mistakenly blamed for a particularly lethal e. Coli outbreak in Germany in 2011.