Friday, July 25, 2008

The Right Kind of Development:
"Animal Estates" by Fritz Haeg

--Feature: "Inside the Green Museum"--

LEED buildings. Solar power. Wind energy. South-facing windows. These are all good aspects of sustainable housing-- for humans. Integrating these elements into our new developments gives us better energy efficiency and a smaller footprint. But they're still all about us.

What about housing for the rest of the ecosystem?

Artist Fritz Haeg addresses this question in his new work Animal Estates. The artist constructs "housing" for our co-habitants on this planet, of other species. From constructing a 10 foot nest in NYC for a bald eagle to a sunning platform for an Eastern Mud Turtle, Haeg truly reminds us of "how the other half lives."

In one case, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Haeg chose four local "clients": the California Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus), the California Quail (Callipepla californica), Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrinus), and the California Sea-Lion (Zalophus californianus) . Under a geodesic tent in the SFMOMA, Haeg organized a bevvy of activity in celebration of each of these species. The animals became subjects of photos, postcards, posters, art projects, lectures and workshops.

The end result of Haeg's work is that participants leave armed with a new understanding of their nonhuman neighbors and even acquire enough information to build supportive housing for them in their own backyards. This is the kind of sprawl even tree-sitters can love.

"Inside the Green Museum" is written by Moe Beitiks who is the Blog Editor for She is also a writer, gardener, artist and biofuel lackey living in Oakland, California.

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