His Ceiling Hung with Vines

Published May 2, 2009 by Graham


Over the past three weeks, a forest has crept into the Machine Project gallery in Los Angeles. A white-walled room in the middle of Echo Park’s stucco strip has been transformed into a veritable fertile valley. Conceived and installed by Christy McCaffrey and Sara Newey, the geniuses responsible for putting a speed metal guitarist performing under a gothic arch on the roof of LACMA, The Forest is an interactive simulated space that has hosted moonlit poetry readings, ghost stories, and birdsong identification workshops.

I took a blanket and a memory foam pillow to the forest last weekend for “Music to Nap By,” a profoundly relaxing performance by artist Brian Crabtree of the Catskill Mountains-based design team Monome. Staring up at the canopy of disconnected branches above, it was all too easy to block out the city and accept the artificial ambiance, reveling in the mechanical chirps and soothing bird calls that were accentuated by the accompaniment of Crabtree’s beautifully meandering tones. Check out The Forest before it gets cut down on Friday, April 24th.

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