I often find contemporary art installations a bit baffling, but I nonetheless decided to take my daughters to the “How to Build a Forest” installation at the Granoff Center for the Arts. So last night, the three of us walked in to a quiet room filled with spectators in seats observing diaphanous trees slowly rising and partially filled rubber balls being rolled around the room. We received a few instructions (from Brown student and filmmaker Laura Colella, no less)–remove your shoes, stay on the wood floor, and be careful what you touch since the forest is delicate. These rules seemed simple enough except, of course, if you happen to be two- or five-years-old. I politely took a seat and would have liked the girls do the same. Instead they improvised–taking on the roles of animals in the forest, crawling on all fours and making strange noises while (fortunately) still respecting the forest structures. As it turns out, they became part of the show. Perhaps that’s the point.
Note: Although 2/28/13 marked the end of Lisa D’Amour, Katie Pearl and Shawn Hall’s “How to Build a Forest” exhibit, you can attend a future Granoff Center exhibit or art installation. See more about “How to Build a Forest” at Brown.edu.