The Absurdist, Pantheistic Cloud, 2015

Questions of meaning & replies of trees. 

40” acrylic dome. Live species inside.

The Absurdist, a conceptual artist collective, made its debut at New Geometries, constructing a terrarium within a large acrylic dome using foraged leaves, moss, mushrooms, and bark from a nearby redwood forest.

Show-goers stepped into an experiential, wild environment. Inside the dome, one suddenly felt enveloped by a small forest, immersed in woody smells.

Due to its 'live' nature, Pantheistic Cloud was a temporal, ephemeral experience, coming to life and passing away within the span of three days. Only the experience and these documents remain.

Read more about The Absurdist and their conception of this experience below.

Q&A: The Absurdist

Who is The Absurdist?

The Absurdist was born out of an existential need to celebrate the freeing understanding of the absurd. The Absurdist works predominantly in the abstract medium of the mind, occasionally  stepping out of this realm to embrace an even more-absurd-than-life endeavor: art. 

Where did the idea for Pantheistic Cloud originate?

We began with the idea of 'the experience as an art object.' Experiencing life [and art] solely for the thrill of the experience itself, distilled down to its essence, has been one of the kernels of discussion and inspiration for The Absurdist, and as such, we wanted to create something that depicted this existential thought. The physical shape was conceived after debating what Geometry—and a New one at that—would look like for us. Geometry in its purest form delivered us the sphere, and the New-ness did the rest…

Tell me about the process of creating Pantheistic Cloud. What materials did you use?

The process was fast-paced, and we found ourselves happy in the haze of having so little time to make it. Decisions were easy, given the time constraints and limited options we had. We commissioned a 'globe' from an acrylic/skylight company in Berkeley, our neighbor Workshop in West Oakland made the closure. Finishes and assembly were Absurdist-made in our HQ in . . . Let's keep that a mystery for now.

How does one interact with Pantheistic Cloud? What kind of experience did you want to create?
The main thing is to get in there! Feel, breathe, think, not think, listen, observe, let it talk to you, talk back, look around, look in, get in, get get out.

Pantheistic Cloud contained live species, thus making it transient and temporal. How did that affect your approach to art-making?
We employed a very tender approach. The 'subject matter' became a 'live subject' and therefore the art-making was very different; it was an emotional experience all the way through, like playing with a kid one just met at the beach—willing to engage but with its own ideas of what it wants to do, what it wants to be.

What is next for the Absurdist?
Interactions, situations, absurd graffiti, a silent play. Lunch.

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"We are approaching New Geometries as a philosophical exploration, a situational attempt to address individual dissonance over the absurdity of inherent meaning. The medium, an inward-out environment for existential thought."