May 19, 2008

Call for SF-Region Animal Stories: Fritz Haeg’s Animal Estate Regional Model Homes 5.0: San Francisco














This July architect and artist Fritz Haeg is bringing his latest interdisciplinary project ANIMAL ESTATES to San Francisco for a month of workshops and events, and he’s looking for local animal stories to include in an Animal Estates 5.0: San Francisco booklet.

Debuting at the 2008 Whitney Biennial, Animal Estates creates model dwellings for animals that are unwelcome or have been displaced by humans. As animal habitats dwindle, Animal Estates proposes their reintroduction into our cities, strip malls, office parks, freeways, front yards, and parking lots, providing a provocative 21st century model for an intimate and thoughtful human-animal relationship.

The SFMOMA version should be fun. Weekend animal estate-building workshops on the Slender Salamander, the California Quail, the Peregrine Falcon, and the California Sea Lion will include expert presentations on each animal ‘client’, plus a series of animal-related sound, movement, writing, and garment-making activities. Fritz is also going to install a geodesic tent (“SF Animal Estates Headquarters”) in the Koret Visitor Education Center, complete with pillows, animal books, and postcards. (I’m hoping for piped-in animal sounds to lull visitors into cozy noon-time naps.)

In the meanwhile! Fritz wants your tall (long?) animal tales.

Animal Story Guidelines:

“Tell your own animal story” can be interpreted in myriad ways. Since we’re something like a one-quarter-dog-per-capita city, maybe dog stories are fair game? Bird names are always fertile music for story-telling: Black Phoebe, Snowy Plover, Long-billed Dowitcher, American Kestral. Or there’s always that weird thing that happened to you with the buffalo in Golden Gate Park.

FIVE HUNDRED words or LESS. Post your stories HERE in the COMMENT BOX, or email them to Education (at) SFMOMA (dot) org. Deadline extended to JUNE 2.

Forward, post, repost! The best stories will be published in an Animal Estates 5.0: San Francisco booklet, which will be sold in the SFMOMA bookstore while Fritz is here in residence.

Comments (8)

  • Are the people against the Animal Estates projects, familiar with Fritz Haeg’s work? I highly doubt it. When you do study his work and hear his genuine intentions, love and respect for the animals he “works” with… it is you who sounds ridiculous. Before you become such a critic, you might want to look into what you are critiquing. (And Youtube spoofs by people with too much time on their hands does not count) Then, you might have some validity in your remarks. If you don’t get it. Just say you don’t. I am a little sad for you though.

    I find his work thoughtful and genuine, simple and very real. Before the Whitney Bienniel, I had no idea who he was, and the beautiful installation and integration of the Animal Estates in our urban setting (in this case Breuer’s building) made me a believer that this was all very possible. Not only did the depth of his work impress me, I sought out Haeg’s body of work and find it all incredible and amazing how involved he is with so many different communities all over the country. I know it has raised more awareness in NYC and hopefully it will do the same with the animals and the way people in San Francisco can relate to them.

  • Jonathan says:

    To Brandon:
    Please understand that subversion is best achieved when you can draw someone near (whisper & a carrot instead of yelling & a stick.) The modern environmental movement detracts those who it most needs to reach. Please appreciate someone who is trying a different tact.

  • Judi Collins says:

    this piece is so ridiculous!
    listen to him speak about it,

    Art for the Whitney or 3rd grade art class?!?

    My favorite YouTube parody:

  • Celeste McMullin says:

    In November 2006, I was swimming in Aquatic Park as I have done for the past twenty years as a member of the Dolphin Club. I was enjoying the swim when I felt a brush under my feet..and thought to myself.. “that feels like whiskers”…..
    A few seconds later, I saw a seal or sea lion ( this has been a topic of discussion since the episode happened) pop up next to me…. As I continued to swim , the animal began to follow me…Then, things got scary… The animal started nipping at my legs… I promptly turned back to shore and realized, I was being followed…
    I continued to be followed all the way to the beach being repeatedly bitten + nipped on my legs …
    Got out, and walked the beach until I was able to get into the showers at the Club..
    Promptly called the Marine Mammal Center from the showers who instructed me to go to the hospital to get the wounds cleaned…California Pacific Emergency room intake people were surprised at the story to say the least..

    Needless to say… realized that for all these years, I have been sharing the Bay with lots of creatures… this one just decided to get a bit more familiar …

  • Someone told me that, in the days and weeks after that tiger escaped from SF Zoo on Christmas Day, there were a series of attempted break outs by other animals.

  • Taira Restar says:

    Out of the corner of my eye, I see a dark shape on the side of the road. I turn back to inspect. I discover a Red-tailed Hawk dead and not yet cold. It is holding a mouse in its talons. The hawk is magnificent– absolutely perfect, except that one eye has popped out of the eye socket. I look through that eye. My eye looking through the eye of a hawk. Looking around at my neighborhood, my home, my family, my self. Looking into the metaphor. Seeing in a new way.

    Imagine soaring above, way above, and looking down at trees, roads, mice, a woman walking. Imagine knowing, deeply and fully knowing, that we are interconnected, that we are one.

    Sometimes through grace (or hard work), life, art and Spirit merge.

  • Brandon, can you say more about this, about what is insulting? I think the intention is in part to encourage people to think about the issues you enumerate above, and to teach people how to build and then re-insert at least small habitable environments–“estates”–for animals displaced by urban architectures and massive development. While it might be rather small-scale to have large impact on the rapid eradication of wild animal populations, as you say above, Fritz Haeg’s project is a form of education and advocacy. Four weekends dedicated to thinking about how each of these animals has been displaced, what an urban-environment-friendly habitat might look like for each creature, tools to build the habitats, and information on how to install them….

  • Brandon Larson says:

    This project is conceptually stupid– a joke from the title on down, and insults the many people whose lives are dedicated to the preservation and restoration of natural habitats. Considering the recent WWF report that the wild animal population of planet Earth as dwindled by nearly 30% in the past 35 years (while the human population has doubled (1970=3.7 billion, 2007=6.5 billion) it is clear that what is required is more education, more advocacy on all fronts, from all of the disciplines of the humanities, and finally more resources dedicated to the actual needs of the non-human populations of this planet.
    The last thing animals need is more architecture.

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