Indigenous (June-July 2012)
Artist A. Bitterman is the summer 2012 resident of Andrea Zittel’s Indy Island, an inhabitable installation in 100 Acres. Throughout the residency, Bitterman will engage Indy Island, the surrounding environment, and Park visitors through his project called INDIGENOUS: Out of the Wild with A. Bitterman. Over the course of six weeks, Bitterman will explore the question “What is Wild?”
“In its deepest sense,” writes Bitterman, “wilderness represents the perfect expression of Nature: a place that seems truly beyond our reach, beyond understanding, beyond reason. As such, we have effectively removed ourselves from its depiction.” By acting as an element himself within the natural environment, Bitterman will draw attention to the fact that we no longer perceive Nature as a place we inhabit, but rather a place we visit. “Since Nature can seem hard to find under these circumstances, we go to great lengths to preserve it, mediate it, and in many cases re-create it. 100 Acres is an excellent example.”
Bitterman will adopt the strategies and aesthetics of designated Wilderness areas, including an interactive kiosk, viewing scopes and other installations throughout the Park, to create a mediated experience that will both expand and disrupt our understanding of the artist and his surroundings. Indigenous makes apparent the construct that is 100 Acres, which today is viewed as a site for recreation and communing with Nature despite its previous uses as an agricultural and industrial site.
A. Bitterman is based in Kansas City, MO, with his wife and five children and is the co-owner of the Reading Reptile, a children’s bookstore. Last summer he installed a project called Point of Interest in the yard of his family’s home. Signage and brochures introduced visitors to the history of the site (from 4.6 billion years ago to the present) and the current activities of his family and cat, Mimmy. Visitors could apply for a “Backcountry Permit” to “hike” the trail in his backyard. Point of Interest was supported by a Rocket Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation, administered by the Charlotte Street Foundation and the Spencer Museum of Art.