The Sprawl Viewer series was installed throughout Southern, NH communities to call attention to development issues. These images superimpose a daunting potential future fate, directly cautioning against our continued inattention to development issues. These Viewers provide an ironic contrast to the built, urban environment and offer an example of how I play off a sense of unexpectedness to engage audience in environmental issues.
Not till we are lost, in other words, not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.
-- Henry David Thoreau
Walking through the forest with the cold, fall scented air rushing into my lungs, I feel nature all around me. Nature is the bright sunlight warming my skin, the fragrance of rotting leaves filling my nose, the roaring stream splashing my hands, the dry pine needles crunching under my feet, the skittish chickadee chirping at my back, the rustling chipmunk challenging my look, the fallen oak blocking my path, and the quick mosquito buzzing my ear. Nature is even my footprint left behind in the mud. While appreciating all this around me, I also become aware of a constant hum of distant machinery, abandoned tires floating in the pond, a dam forcing that pond, beer bottles scattered at my feet, rock walls defining arbitrary borders, and asphalt meeting the trail. These things are not nature. Nature is life – creation, the universe -- not artificially manufactured product out of synchronization with the natural order of the world.
I enjoyed working at the Gambo site on the Presumpscot River, a quiet, scenic refuge from the pace of everyday life. Since no road passes through, only to this spot, there is no reason to come here other than to enjoy it: to eat lunch, take in the scene, fish or walk. But why, after appreciating nature, do you throw your lunch refuse out your window? Who will come by to clean it up?