An educational trail around the elephant enclosure in Royal Zoo Artis; under construction
Five installations of observation and reflection around the elephant enclosure:
Instruments, revealing the sensory world of elephants,
Often hidden for humans.
A low rumble, hard to hear;
The smell of attraction;
The coolness of mud;
Feeling the smallest groove;
An expressive sign language.
Openings and surfaces are portals that reveal the world of the elephants.
An ear to hear;
A nose to smell and to feel;
A skin to sense heat;
An eye to see and to recognise gestures.
Most instruments are composed of three parts.
One: An instrument that helps to observe the elephants and the enclosure;
Two: A transmitter of human understandings of the elephant world;
Three: An explanatory text, bringing together the instruments
A heavy, ‘musical’ instrument, cast from brass
Which helps to better observe the elephants and the enclosure.
Working as an amplifier for the senses
And as a reminder that there is more to our environment than meets the eye.
Listening alongside the canal for example, I hear the rustling of wind in high trees
And listen! The low rumble of an elephant!
The instrument is heavy and tactile, like an elephant.
Openings are abstract analogies of the elephant’s and human’s body parts,
On the elephant side, they are elephant sized, on the human side they are human sized.
The second instrument transmits human understandings of the elephant world.
While coming from the same family as the first instrument,
The second instrument is more generic.
Like the difference between a horn and an organ pipe.
It brings the sensory experiences to the angle of the visitor.
Its expression derives from a plurality of similar elements.
Only the openings are tailored to their use,
Giving the identical tubes a mark of distinction.
The explanatory text is earth bound and linear.
It functions as a base and a bridge between both instruments.
While the visitor moves around the enclosure
It makes reading, with the other experiences of the trail, an act of active discovery.
Together the installations deepen an understanding of other animals and landscapes.
We are currently making the 1:1 clay models which will be used to cast the second set of installations.