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This project is from the Summer of 2010 and is now archived. Visit the IMA Island page for the next related project.


last night i was reading and Thoreau is going on and on about how the early morning is the best time to be alive. It is the time when artists are inspired and poets hear words, you are not living your life unless you are spending regular time with the sunrise. for some reason today i just happened to wake up before the sun rose and decided to stay up.  i took saide for a boat ride and then walked around the lake.  There was something nice about walking in the dim woods without the worry of light running out.  I could see it being nice making this a regular thing but i might not have such a strong opinion as Thoreau.


2nd Half-UPDATE

Hi everyone.

We are now reaching the second half of our project and here are a few plans….

Mike will finish up his solitude experiment today, then I will be out on the island for the rest of the time.  He will still be here sometimes but he needs to find a job and he is going on vacation.  Tours will probably still be earlier in the day from around 10 AM to 1 PM. Then, the rest of the day I will be collecting messages, photographing them, posting previous messages, etc.  This is pretty much the same thing we have been doing this whole time.

I am also planning performances which I will conduct from time to time. Some performances will have a scheduled date and duration, but some will be spontaneous and unexpected.

I will be doing my part of the solitude experiment sometime within the next three weeks (probably the 2nd week). Things will not change much for all of you, except my phone will be off and I will not have a typical concept of time.  Tours will still be in the morning, but I will not have a clock to know the time.  Hopefully my biological clock will be consistent!

Anyway, I WANT TO ASK YOU ALL what you might want to see or experience within the last few weeks of the project…

  • Want to collaborate on a performance or art project at 100 Acres?
  • Want a specific blog post?
  • Want us to do something we have not done?
  • Have a question?

We would like your input and creativity!  We might not choose to do everything you mention, but if it applies to our project or interests us then we would love to.  We want to make the most of the rest of the project for all of you as well as us.

Thank you!


quiet time

I just realized today how much time i sit quietly.  I never realized that i wasn’t talking or listening to the radio because i have so many thoughts swarming in my head and i’ve been amazed how many times the same passion pit song can repeat in one’s head when there is no radio.

My dad has always driven the car with no radio.  We would either talk or be silent.  It used to drive me crazy when i was younger but i’ve found that now i’m the same way.  It makes it easier to take me time and re-evaluate what direction i’m going.  Here, i’ve been getting so much quiet time to myself i feel mentally cleaner and refreshed. That’s not to say i’m any less confused but i feel like at least i know what i’m confused about rather than having this vague feeling pecking at me and not knowing where it’s coming from.  I think it is an important part of life to take quiet reflection but no one really knows how to fit that into their actual life.


island thoughts

The book i’m tearing into first is Walden by Thoreau because, well, duh.  I’m sad to admit i’ve never read it until now.  I’m expecting dozen’s of wisdom pearls to be scattered in the pages and i’m excited to see how it relates to my life now.  The first chapter feels a little like ranting about how blindly people are living their lives by working too much. (i’m opening my self up to assault for misinterpreting things, go for it)  He goes on in a way that leads me to feel like, “ok, henry.  i get it.”  Then there is this little nugget, he’s talking about how insulated our lives can be and says: “how can he remember his ignorance which his growth requires.”   -boom.

that’s all it took to send me in a spiral of thoughts. I’m usually freaked out about how confusing life can get and how i feel so lost and infant in my understanding of things.  But i can take comfort in this thought because i know that at least i’m looking for understanding and want more knowledge.  There are plenty of people in my life who feel like they know it all. (or if not all, enough)  It makes sense to think that those people are the same people who have stayed the same throughout long periods of time and seem to lack those mental growth spurts because they are not looking to learn.  I still don’t like admitting that i don’t know it all but i’m into the idea that i’m on my way to learning more of it.


new toy.

mom’s know what kids like.  My mom brought a pair of binoculars along with dinner.  I knew these would be fun but i had no idea how much i would be tickled by looking at people.  One part of the experience that can be somewhat jarring is the fact that people are always observing your actions.  Every time i want to sit in the sun there is a crowd wondering how i potty.  Now the tables have turned.  Viewing people through binoculars is a really intrusive way a t looking at someone.  i feel a little like  a peeping tom but i don’t have the feeling of shame because these people are looking at me all day.  It’s been really funny to see how uncomfortable people get when they know they are being watched even if they are gawking at me. It’s not often that the exhibit views back.  This will be another good time waster and contribution to the social experiment.


IMA(n) art beast

My original thought was that this experience on the island would be a relaxing retreat where i could cleanse my mind and be free from distractions.  I’ve been feeling uncomfortable because i have not been getting my solitude because every time i move there are a crowd of people watching to see what i am going to do.  There has been the recognition that we are pieces of art and a part of the exhibition but i never understood what that meant until now.

There is always a crowd watching the island from all over the lake.  When i step out onto the porch i can hear people say “look! i see him, there he is, what’s he doing?”  They scream hello, i wave and they say, “he waved, did you see it, he waved!”

It’s not a celebrity feeling, i feel more like an animal at the zoo.  At first this upset me because i really wanted some spiritual time off, but now i’m into embracing my inner zoo animal.  It means i can act as weird as i want and it’s ok because i’m island man.  I’ve taken to scurrying away from crowds and not letting myself feel bad for not interacting with everyone. they are stumbling into my “natural” habitat and much like the mighty mountain goat, i can not be expected to preform on the hour.  Most of the time i’m still normal mike, but i’m starting to get into the performance side of this experience.


Passing time.

While I was alone on the island for an hour or two, I decided to pass the time by using rubber bands we received in trade to create a rubber band ball.  The process was very meditative.  The time passed by so quickly as I wound the bands around and around while thinking.  I cannot believe I used all of those rubber bands in so little time!  Imagine what I could do with an entire summer!

I knew someone would probably trade something for this 1/2 pound rubber band ball.  Indeed, it was traded out today.  Goodbye rubber band ball!


Flight Delays

I flew in from Germany on Friday the 18th, just one day before the big opening of 100 Acres.  Because of the storms and the plane almost running out of gas, we had to land in Detroit and wait there on the plane.  I was freaking out because I had been on a plane for 10 hours and I asked the flight attendant what the worst case scenario was and she said, “You don’t want to know….”  Luckily, we got back to Chicago and I was able to get home around 2AM. Still, a total of 13 hours on a plane is kind of rough on the legs and brain.

Of course, ALL of us were having trouble getting into the Chicago airport because of all of the delays.  Andrea Zittel, Tea Makipaa, and I were all flying in from Europe and we were all stuck at the airport the same night!  I wish I would have known!  My dad picked me up in Chicago since it was cheaper and quicker to do than to get a connecting flight to Indy.  If I knew they were also stuck there, I could have given them a ride.

It is crazy how we all end up in the same place.  The world seems so small at times.


feeding frenzie

A big part of this project so far has been all the media attention. Yesterday was a press invite day. members from all different papers, stations, and museums were roaming the still maturing grounds getting the inside scoop of the whole park. I like talking about the island and even though i was answering the same type of questions, i never really felt like i was repeating myself too much. Most of the stuff is still interesting to me and i know that i would want to hear about it too so it’s easier for me to remain enthusiastic. I don’t think i’ll ever get used to being photographed and taped, however. The craziest part is i don’t feel like i’m worth all this attention. i’m the same dork that i’ve always been. But i’m lucky enough to live on an island that i didn’t build so everyone is excited to talk to me. It feels a little in-sensere and undeserved, but sometimes it’s still nice.

Another exciting thing is that Dave from the Indy Star participated in our FIRST ISLAND TRADE. he was doing an interview and he brought a deck of cards. i was caught off guard so i drew him a quick sketch to celebrate the occasion. We are on our way.


adding up

Towed another garden out to the island. After today there are three full units out. The first is attached to the island, the second is attached to the first and the third is attached to the second. They are much sturdier when the are all attached because they have a wider foot and are less likely to get a huge rocking swing or tip. It feels good to have them all out of my front yard and in the lake. I’m going to replace the bins that sunk and have a total of four units floating.

I’m noticing how much slower things go out on the lake. A simple task like tying wire on all the bins takes much longer because you have to gingerly maneuver the boat around or crawl out on the bins. Even getting out to the island takes a while. It’s over a half mile walk from the IMA where our oars and life vests are kept to the beach. Going out there for a simple task takes at least two ours with everything involved. I hope i don’t sound like i’m complaining, it feels very nice. I’m really excited for the pace of my life to slow down and i think there will be no way to help it once we start living out on the lake. Right now we are working at a fever pace. Jess leaves for Germany in about a week and we have some big things to finish before she’s gone. Once more of the material things are completed and we are just polishing the details or existing on the island, we will have more time to listen to the water or watch the herons fish on the shore. Can’t wait.


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