Student Review | Mark Dion: Troubleshooting
by Ashley Martinez – USF Honor Student
Mark Dion’s Troubleshooting has just closed at USFCAM. I hope you were able to take a moment and check it out. Mark Dion is known for his archaeological style digs in urban areas, and examining the disparities between science and knowledge.
I personally find Dion’s work extremely refreshing. Just as feminism seems like a dirty word because of it’s association with with man-hating and bra-burning, and females with hairy legs and armpits, it seems that nature conservation is associated with exhibitionists, bare-feet, people-who-love-animals-more-than-people, and females with hairy legs and armpits.
But these stereotypes prohibit people from seeing the bigger picture. It seems there is a widespread belief in the West that a binary exists between the environment and civilization. This belief makes people ignore what is most essential to civilization and human life–our home, planet Earth.
What is original about Dion is he forces us to think about the environment by removing the binary and merging the two.
This is seen in, Concrete Jungle (see above), an installation that looks like the average street corner–heaps of garbage cans, a bicycle and old newspapers, among the animals we share our concrete habitat with (rodents, felines, birds, etc.).
Again we see this in the The South Florida Wildlife Rescue Unit: Mobile Library (see below), which looks like the ideal place to play a game of I SPY, but is a mobile unit with many supplies, tools and books to rescue wildlife within the urban landscape.
Much of Dion’s work also shows the legacy of naturalist William Bartram, who was known for his incredible illustrations of plants and animal life, as well as observing nature within it’s habitat. That is to say, rather than taking specimen out of their habitat and observing them at another place, say personal laboratory or parlor, Bartram believed in observing nature from within it’s environment.
All in all, Troubleshooting was well worth the visit. I’m positive it can make you think of your personal relationship with the environment in an entirely different way.