Terrarium by Grimanesa Amaros is a permanent, site-specific, public art project located at 54 N. Moore Street in Tribeca, New York City. The function of this 110 year-old building has changed over time from a storage site to a grocery, from a dye firm to a drug company. Today it houses residential and commercial lofts. I want to create a piece that reflects the evolution of Tribecca - a neighborhood constantly in flux.
The term "terrarium" refers to a glass enclosure used for sustaining plant and animal life in an unusual atmosphere - most often indoors. Although intending to reproduce a natural environment, these terrariums are a far cry from the fields and forests of the countryside. Instead, they are isolated, veritably existing in an artificial world of in-betweens.
Terrarium is an installation intended to provide lighting to the lobby of a landmark building. From dusk to dawn, shifting patterns of light radiate from an assortment of acrylic bubbles mounted on the walls. The work is an organic space within the city and a simultaneous extension of the urban surroundings. The spherical shapes and colors evoke an almost amphibian quality, yet displayed within these bubbles are photographs showing us the past and present life of this building. The place represents the middle
ground between the private and public, a compromise between the tranquility of the indoors and the din of the hectic city.
This work of art is meant to inspire reflection. The contradictions embodied therein evoke a feeling of elements taken out of context, rearranged, and reconstructed to form something entirely new. To passers-by on the street, it is an alteration of a familiar landscape, a moment to re-imagine their daily world.