2004   Redwood tree with burned core plus carved and scorched wooden tanks
110 x 9 x 8 feet (33.53 x 2.74 x 2.44 m) site-specific installation
Djerassi Foundation Sculpture Collection, Woodside, California, USA

I explore our relationship to resources and our interdependency with nature in the piece ‘Frontier’ using the interior terrain of a redwood. Frontier is an installation located in a redwood grove at the Djerassi Foundation, in Woodside, CA. The piece depicts five military tanks crawling skyward along the burnt-out core of a live redwood tree. I carved the tanks with chainsaws, scorched and mounted them onto the burnt part of the tree with wooden dowels.

The tanks appear playful and toy-like, yet paired with the foreboding, black landscape their presence sparks a curious shift. It is my hope that this shift will resonate with the viewer.

Djerassi Foundation Sculpture Collection
Woodside, California, USA


Broken Frontier

This is a miniature of Iraq on fire,
replicas of the tanks we’ve demanded

now abandoned and burnt,
fastened on the vertical landscape

of a redwood hollowed by loggers.
Along the interior of this new terrain

tanks wait for eye recognition
to take hold and roll over

each of us on the inside.
We are confronted by a war

we do not want to encounter:
torn corpses on the broken frontier

of the desert and this scorched redwood.
Numerous paths spiral up and in

as one gazes at the overturned sky,
unbalanced by sense of inverse vertigo,

and clings to the memory of homespun colors.

– After a sculpture installation, “Frontier”,
in California by Marguerite Kahrl

Michael Szporluk