Subscribe To the newsletter

Proposal for a Forest or a Desert

October 31, 2006 to December 2, 2006


If I were to attempt to write a statement for my proposed model of a spiral staircase to be installed in a forest or desert, it might reference Vladimir Tatlin's famous unbuilt spiral tower, Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim design, DNA structure, the golden ratio, planetary orbits, Robert Smithson's spiral jetty, and other spirals both manmade and natural.

I would try to place these things in the context of the great human spirit, borrowing thoughts from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

At this point in the writing of my statement, I might realize I had only referenced men, and that the proposed structure itself is in fact quite phallic. I might have second thoughts about the idea altogether, start considering relevant female artists and thinkers – Georgia O'Keeffe, Jane Bowles, Eva Hesse – and reassure myself of the spiral design's inherent feminine aspects. I might reference a Mother Teresa quote that I love: "We can do no great things, only small things with great love."

After putting more thought into the statement than the design or project itself, I might recognize the absurdity of my obsession with getting it right – that is to say, getting the statement right – and throw it out all together. Was I really going to try to mesh references to Tatlin, Wright, Smithson, Emerson, Wittgenstein, O'Keeffe, Bowles, Hesse, Mother Teresa, DNA, the planets, and the golden ratio? Seriously? And was I really going to call myself a misogynist in my own statement?

And so I would go back to the structure. Focus on the design itself. On my sketches and smaller models, made from soda straws and scraps of paper. Why did I propose it? Why would I suggest it be installed in a forest or desert? Is it some sort of life and death thing?

It's an idea.

I might wonder: Could I convince Sinead O'Connor to perform "The Singing Bird" from the top step of my spiral staircase? Because that would explain everything perfectly. Maybe I could teach myself to play guitar in time to accompany her for the opening. The chords seem simple enough, even for me.

- Scott Wayne Indiana, November 2006