Jonathan Durham
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© 2011

Crash and Burrow by Jonathan Durham from Socrates Sculpture Park on Vimeo.

This piece was made from helicopter salvage sourced from a company that salvages aviation crash wreckage which they then reconfigure into convincing aircraft facsimiles. They sell the facsimiles to movie productions which use them for stunts and explosions. My proposal was to turn the crash site into an environment for animals. The intention was to see how nature might claim and reconstitute the wreckage for its own purposes and since the piece was going to be outdoors for 8 months I thought there would be enough time to observe this process. Rabbits seemed perfect because with enough hay they can burrow and create tunnels and habitats and the cockpit of the helicopter had a compartmentalized structure with many openings and holes that I thought the rabbits would use to create a system of tunnels. As it turns out the sculpture park where the piece was installed was really a highly trafficked dog park for the neighborhood so it would have been cruel to leave the rabbits in the helicopter long term. The rabbits were introduced to the piece for short, controlled periods of time - like half a day, or a few hours at a time, and no dogs were allowed in the park. Usually after two or three minutes of exploring they became fairly complacent despite the extreme idiosyncrasies of the interior space. After a brief period of exploration they usually went to sleep...which maybe was a coping mechanism for the stress. I see this piece as more of a meditation on enclosures and complacency - a surprising outcome because the project was intended for a public park with a rigorous program of cultural engagement.

Crash & Burrow 2010
Bell 206 helicopter salvage, paint, hay, water bottles, live rabbits.
25 x 7 x 9 feet