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Michel Anderson (2011)

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School:
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Visual Arts Major) -- but truly I consider Life my higher educator.

Primary Project:
After close to a year of living a nomadic lifestyle in the United States, I spent the month of May 2011 interning at BRS. During that time I had the pleasure of calling the FireFly my humble abode. I had previous experience with goats, earthships, and primitive living in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where I feel in love with simplicity, the more-than-human world, and the earth, moon & stars. Knowing my interests, a good friend of mine forwarded me BRS's website, and I applied to be an intern the next day.
My first couple of weeks were spent working on various projects on the grounds and in the earthship. A week-long straw-bale/earthship workshop occurred while I was there, during which time I worked closely with Jay and the attendees on building the Lady Bug Goat House. One day, when the facade of the building was being discussed, I was offered the opportunity to design it. I gladly accepted, and over the next few nights I dreamt up a design that was embraced by Annie & Jay. After the final framing was completed on the Lady Bug, I went to play in the mud with crates of dumpster-dived bottles. It was exciting to discover various problem solving skills within myself as I worked on the puzzle of physically manifesting my conception. To get the wall built I initially had help from Bonnie, the other intern staying on the property, and the workshop attendees; but most of the project was completed with the assistance of my dear friend, Courtney, who drove out from Baltimore, Maryland. It took us about 5 full days of fun-loving, mud-slinging construction (with an occasional backwashed-beer-dousing) to complete the project. The final outcome is what I named "The Infinite Wall" -- which I describe below:


If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. ~ William Blake ~

In the upper and lower corners of the wall are five-pointed stars. The stars represent our bodies' five senses integrated with the Imagination. Their opposing orientation and color scheme suggest that the outside and the inside mirror one another and paradoxically are of the same source. The four triangular symbols are alchemical representations of the four elements -- Water, Earth, Fire, Air -- all of which relate to the harmonious relationship between Matter & Life. Water = Blood | Earth = Body |  Fire = Spirit |  Air = Breath They surround a vertical version of the infinity symbol in the four cardinal directions -- North, East, South, West. The design as a whole is meant to resurrect the mythological nature of our minds and to provoke the infinite possibilities that await us when we embrace the World as our own Body and our Imagination as Reality.

The construction method of the "The Infinite Wall" project is the subject of a how-to book which I hope to finish up sometime in the not-to-distant future. But as life would have it, I have left the USA and am currently living in Hanoi, Vietnam, where I teach at a State Primary School and maintain a website and blog for the endlessly curious: www.playingshadows.com