CAMERON HOCKENSON
Overpass
2014
Google SketchUp
Proposal:

Overpass is a superhighway for wildlife in the forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains. A system of off-ramps, interchanges, and bridges will thread The Passage trail and forest canopy itself with an infrastructure for wildlife to nest, forage, and cash food. This aerial ribbon of paths, nests, and platforms will be used by species like the western grey squirrel and chipmunks found throughout the Santa Cruz Range. The installation will be constructed of recycled plywood, wood screws, house paint, while black oak leaves, lichen, moss, sticks, grasses, shredded bark, and tail hair will be gathered on site. Cash bins for nuts may be situated within the system in proximity to bearing trees. The piece will connect dreys (squirrel nests) and temporary sleeping platforms as well.

Squirrels and chipmunks are scatter-hoarders, and their cashes are important to the dispersal of certain plants throughout the forest. While Overpass mimics the vehicular arteries responsible for urban sprawl, congestion, pollution, and expansion into valuable farmland and wildlife habitat in California, this freeway system will actually encourage the dispersal of seed bearing species throughout the forest, and give cover and refuge to the western gray squirrel. The western gray has been retreating to mountain regions of California due to the introduction of competing species, and human expansion into its habitat.

Visually, as sculpture Overpass creates a rhythmic rise and fall of movement through the trees, but will also become a stage where park visitors can view the ongoing theatrics and acrobatics of these arboreal rodents.
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