Untidy Objects

Beginning in Spring 2021, Amber Ginsburg (Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago), Sara Black (Department of Sculpture at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) and Samantha Frost (Department of Political Science and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) engage in a two-year collaborative art project called Untidy Objects. At the center of this project is a multi-sensory living sculpture, through which the collaborators aim to capture the relationship between a living subject and its world.  

Untidy Objects Field Trip to LaPorte, Indiana (10.02.21)


In October 2021, Untidy Objects Fellows Sara Black, Amber Ginsburg and Samantha Frost took a field trip to LaPorte, Indiana to visit a forest restoration project led by Charles Jahn.  This report includes their photo documentation of the trip. 

Charles Jahn purchased several hundred acres of land that was slated to become a housing development/subdivision, and that was used for gmo soy/corn production. He’s restoring it to native mixed wood forest and prairie. 

The tree we harvested was a tulip poplar and was on the edge of the forest vulnerable to wind. All of its siblings were blown over the previous year. This one was slated for felling, so we got to take it with the rootball. It’s an ideal species for growing oyster mushrooms and has a rapid decomposition time. 

Charlie’s neighbor Bob used his excavator to remove soil around the roots, so we could “push” it over. We made several scarf joints that we can reconnect at Untidy Objects.