The collaborative practice of Mary and Stephan
Elevated Landscape

Elevated Landscape

In collaboration with the playright Kirk Lynn of Austin, Texas, the collaborative team of Hillerbrand+Magsamen, explores the idea of family identities and structures through the metaphor of lawn care. As a man (Hillerbrand) dressed in his business suit stands in his own little world on a lawn that is literally “elevated” 10 feet above the ground on a wooden platform, he tries to maintain a green lawn while his wife (Magsamen) below chops the platform down with an axe. It is the mans own internal flaws that bring himself and the "lawn" down.

 

Suburban neighborhoods have a flurry of lawn care workers tending to middle class homes everyday to manicure, fertilize and preserve green landscapes of perfection.  This homogenization of identity propels the notion of “keeping up with the Jones” as neighbors notice that their lawn is not very green and does not fit the Better Homes and Gardens model.  These facades really say nothing about a family’s identity.

 

Performance & Single Channel, High Definition Video, 16:9, trt 4:00, 2011