With this installation comes an opportunity for Portland Building visitors to observe and consider their fellow humans from multiple physical and intellectual perspectives, subjectively and objectively. The installation is designed to elicit questions and ideas about humans as a culture, as a species, as individuals, and also draws on the theory of “prospect and refuge,” a theory that people have instinctual preferences for places that have a clear view of the surroundings and that allow for concealment and escape.
The main element of the installation is the “people blind,” something like a bird blind that would be used as cover for wildlife observers. Behind the blind there is refuge and prospect—visitors feel hidden and protected, yet can look through ‘blind spots’ to observe human nature, even as those in the lobby can look in on them. From the lobby perspective there is also a sense of prospect and refuge as passers-by are hidden in the anonymity of busyness and are caught up in the prospects of the day.
Ideas of prospect and refuge bring in aspects of our social and physical natures and that which makes us feel safe, comfortable and hopeful. The blind gives us windows to observe ourselves as megafauna, as connected to nature and each other.
This installation is paired with a weekly program series called Human-Nature Field Notes that includes writing, sketching, and discussion oriented events.
About the Artist: Peg Butler is an interdisciplinary artist whose work often involves integrating elements of culture, ecology and placemaking. She has a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Oregon and has been collaborating on public art installations since 2006.
Contact: peg at pegbutler dot net