Over 15 years ago, I watched a neighbor rip out the low maintenance landscaping in front of their house and put in a lawn instead. I was shocked that their idea of a perfect front yard had to be a manicured green lawn. The lawn-care industry had so deeply ingrained that idea through advertising as a staple of the domestic environment.
That incident provided inspiration for me to make a series of sculptures and a video about the environmental impact of grass lawns.
Now here in California we are in the midst of a serious drought. For the first time people are realizing just how much water lawns consume and the environmental issues surrounding lawns that compete for our drinking water.
It has now become "the thing to do" for houses with grass in front to have parched looking lawns.
The water battles here in the west have a long history. With increasing population and agricultural demands, this problem isn't going away. Removal of grass lawns is becoming the norm and more water-wise solutions are considered as permanent replacements.
The modern lawn was inspired by the 18th century landscape architecture of grand estates in England on which nature and humans were perceived to peacefully coexist. The green lawn dependent on a mild, wet climate was transplanted to North America despite the harsher climates and diversity of vegetation beyond the American East Coast.
The grass \'gras\ video (below) shows the fabrication, assembly and meaning behind the lawn-size installation (9' x 9') with 32,400 blades of grass cut from post consumer tin cans.
The installation travels in 19 boxes.