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Habitat Lounger (a place to be), 2023

Powder Coated Steel, Tulip Poplar, Concrete, Epoxy Resin, Epoxy Clay, Light Bulb, Electrical Wiring

Exhibited as part of the 2023 Cranbrook Academy of Art Graduate Degree Exhibition at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, MI., April 8 - May 15, 2023.

Habitat Lounger is a place to be. The only place you need to be. Have a seat! A comfortable yet supportive place to sit with a smooth, sculpted poplar wood seat, and a wavy sculpted backrest in the same material. Feel the soft ridges along your back offering a light massage of your back muscles. Above, a dimmable light, filtered through a piece of blue bark, and reflected in a glassy smooth surface of the amoeba-oak leaf-esque blue-green cast resin canopy supported by a branching steel armature. Extend your right arm to feel another moment of smooth sculpted poplar, and place your drink, book, or personal communication device upon the continent-shaped side table. Along your left arm sits a large, flattened piece of blue bark, rendered in epoxy clay, it looks as if it has been extracted from a future archaeological dig from the era when all the trees turned blue. As you look down, you notice that each leg of this sculptural-structural tube steel frame upon which everything is attached is rooted in a solid base of cast concrete, an architectural material that will surely last the test of time, albeit eventually crumbling to a pile of dust. The back left leg appears to be composed of a stack of light blue pine two-by-twos atop a stack of blue plywood. Is this also an artifact from the future, when the blue trees were cut and harvested into blue lumber, then discarded and fossilized into petrified lumber? A bright yellow sculpty dimmer switch and bright yellow rubber cord emerge from this piece, reminding you of the functional nature/electronic function of the light above; the other end of the cord terminating in a fake rock base. Does this connect to some magic source of power within? Or is this fake rock merely covering an unsightly electrical outlet, one that connects to “The Grid,” where in 2023 power is still derived from the antiquated process known as “Burning Coal”. When the petrified blue trees get buried deep enough, will they too, be dug up and burned to produce blue-wood electricity in the next geological period? The front left leg is smaller and greenish with a texture resembling bark, perhaps another petrified log? Here it’s a simulated version, one made with a mold made out of hot glue – melted plastic used to mimic a tree’s bark. The other two legs are rooted in pure cylindrical bases, reminding you of the industrial origins of this chair. The steel tubes produced in a mill, the raw cement dried in cylindrical rotary kilns, industrial facilities where the form of the cylinder is commonplace. Habitat Lounger offers a comfortable place to plant oneself for a while, a place to read or relax, or to contemplate the vastitude of all things “natural” and “artificial” or to realize the false binary within that framing of the planet.
Copyright Nicholas Tilma, 2024.