AUTHOR Zoe Schlanger
PHOTOGRAPHER Will Lucas
The roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art currently resembles something closer to an Asiatic forest of mythic proportions than the deck of an eminent institution. Big Bambú, the massive installation by the identical-twin artists Mike and Doug Starn, towers fifty feet over the roof deck, sporting a winding walkway that visitors may climb all the way to it’s upper reaches. The catch? Big Bambú is made from nothing more than bamboo poles and bits of brightly colored nylon rope. The structure is a feat of carefully-placed genius, using no supportive structure whatsoever. No concrete mounting it to the deck, no scaffolding. The effect is slightly unnerving; the whole thing does indeed look downright precarious, disorganized even. But that’s what they intended.
The bamboo sculpture is meant to be both forever finished and unfinished, caught in the chaotic flux of something organic, “the complexity and energy of an ever-changing living organism.” A team of bare-footed rock climbers will continue to expand and shape the giant structure, winding the pathway in new directions, tying and untying the nylon ropes–or what the Starn brothers call “the connective tissue.”
Big Bambú is as green as art can be. It’s green, literally. Bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials around; it grows at unbelievable rates of four feet per day. Four bloody feet! So it’s at no risk of disappearing, plus it is incredibly strong. And it’s even recyclable. So go check out the Met roof, get lost in the larger-than-life bamboo house of cards, and watch art grow green.