Topos 2009

L A N D  A R T   P R O P O S A L, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2009

Commissioner: City of Albuquerque Public Art Program, Albuquerque, New Mexico


This project is a construction of humanizing artscape that connects people, earth, and sky that can be experienced from multiple locations, from the road nearby, and from the sky as one flies over the human/earth mound. Inspired by the Vitruvian Man (1487) created by Leonardo da Vinci, that depicts a nude male figure in two superimposed positions with arms and legs apart, simultaneously inscribed in a circle and square. This work represents a cornerstone of Leonardo’s attempts to relate humans to nature, presenting the workings of the human body as an analogy for that of the universe.

It is also believed that Leonardo symbolized material existence by the square and spiritual existence by the circle. This image is used as the symbol of many contemporary representations of alternative medicine and holopathic wellness.The earth will be sculpted into topography of the human body (no gender), 66-feet in length, referencing the diameter of the Casa Rinconada, the largest kiva of the Anasazis of the Chaco Canyon. The height of the mound will be proportional to the length of the body, which will be approximately 15 feet high.  In order to honor the ancient Pueblo knowledge of cultivation of medicinal plants within an arid climate, the mound will be topped with sandbags made of natural jute, filled with earth and local plants and herbs associated with healing.  The plants will be placed in the specific area of the body-topography corresponding to their medical applications and healing properties.

As the jute bags break down over time, the medicinal plants will become part of the living systems of the desert. As opposed to many suburban plantings, this work will ‘replant’ the inherited wisdom of the indigenous culture, linking place with its history and its future.  The goal is to seek counsel from the indigenous people, local land- scape architects and botanists, and extend the ecological messages into the larger contexts of community, school or public park in which they are placed in order to stimulate future dialogue.

Bookmark the permalink.