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Maslen & Mehra
Because There Is Nothing On This Green Earth That Is Stronger Than

variable x variable x variable cm
Installation: Animation (4min loop), bespoke lightbox/plinth, hand carved/painted wood sculptures, 2 x Durst Lambda prints (52 x 72cm each)

The installation simulates the free-standing military recruitment office in Times Square, New York. It includes the giant neon flag on the side of the building and the similar placement of the screen on the front of the structure, which plays a 4-minute animation.

The animation is created from a series of still photographs taken in Times Square New York of the military recruitment office and the large-scale screen, which serves its advertising needs. The plants in the animation are rendered from drawings and authentic military camouflage patterns. The plants slowly engulf the scene as the screen keeps pumping out mesmerising statements and images which were documented directly from the public screen.

The camouflage patterns on the sculptures are also based on authentic military camouflage patterns from around the world. They were chosen for the diversity of patterns and references to nature and not for the specific regions that they represent. Examples include Kuwaiti amoeba camouflage, Belgian jigsaw camouflage, Bulgarian frogskin camouflage, Marine Desert Digital Camouflage, Egyptian Army ‘Scrambled Eggs’, Waffen SS M44 Dot* pattern WW2 Germany, U.S. woodland pattern, Tamil Tigerstripe Light Blue variant.

Included in the installation are two prints from the Native series, which tie back into the installation re-iterating the themes of nature and culture. One of the images depicts a side view the recruitment office. In the Native series, we research fauna that is, or once was indigenous to the country in which they are photographed. Then, by posing mirrored sculptures of these animals in an urban environment, they in turn reflect the man-made structures around them.

The initial inspiration for this installation, were the bold statements expressed on the military recruitment screen as witnessed in Times Square. The first response was to document the different screens which led to the production of the animation. The particular repeated statement, which stood out was Because There Is Nothing On This Green Earth That Is Stronger Than. The animation contradicts this statement as plants slowly take over the scene and on a number of occasions the urban setting briefly disappears altogether leaving only the plants visible. This work questions the single minded, politically and economically driven language that was being disseminated in Times Square in a time when awareness of the natural world and our place in it is dramatically shifting.

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