The history of the idea Social Sculpture

The concept of social sculpture was created by German artist Joseph Beuys in the 1960’s who proposed sculpture could be the community itself – shaping their society or their environment by using language, thoughts, actions, and objects.

A famous example of his work is 7000 Oaks conceived in 1982 in which he proposed planting 7000 sapling oaks next to 7000 1.2 meter high basalt rock makers in the city of Kassel Germany.  That year 7000 Basalt rocks were dumped onto a lawn outside an exhibition building in Kassel.  The community of Kassel were then invited to decide where these trees would be planted in their city. After five years the 7000 rocks were finally planted next to the saplings and no longer sat outside the exhibition building. Today you can see these trees towering all over Kassel as well as New York where the project was extended by The Dia Foundation.

What and where is The Park?

The Park is a conceptual space and idea that becomes real through community participation. By creating a pollen hotel and posting a photo of it on our map you can help turn the Waitemata into a pollen hotspot. This pollen hotspot will secure a food source for our six beehives placed in Victoria Park this winter. When you make a pollen hotel you also help create The Park which is the space our bees will travel to source nectar to make their honey. When the six hives are harvested the honey that has been made will be available to everyone who has helped nurture its creation.

makethepark- pasture painting curren street 1 copy

Who is making the Pasture Paintings?

The artists Taarati Taiaroa and Sarah Smuts-Kennedy asked Richard Orjis to collaborate on the Pasture Paintings with them. The Pasture Paintings are one idea for making a Pollen Hotel to feed the bees in Victoria Park. Pasture Paintings are shapes hot steamed into roadside berms around the edge of the Waitemata that are planted in plants you might find in pastures, like clover and lupins. You can find out more about Pasture Paintings and Pollen Hotels in other posts on this blog.

Richard Orjis made another work for the Pop projects called Walking in Trees.

Underneath Richards public sculpture called Walking in Trees supported vertical Pollen Hotels made by high school students across Auckland who worked with the Roots Collective on their project Pollinate.

Pop, a Waitemata Local Board arts funded initiative offered a platform for these artists to work across content and space on individual and collaborative projects.

This invitation to make work both as individuals and in collaboration is extended to you the public. If you make a Pollen Hotel in your own space; at work or at home, add it to The Park map at In doing so, you will become part of the collaboration team who helped make and shape the public sculpture The Park.

T and S make The Park

Whose idea is The Park?

The conceptual artwork called The Park is the result of several years of collaboration between the artists Taarati Taiaroa and Sarah Smuts-Kennedy who met while completing their Masters at the University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Art in 2011. In 2012 the artists began working on an idea for an artwork that would allow them to ask questions about the distinctions of public versus private space. They were also intrigued how they, two women living in Auckland, might discuss, critique and make Earth Works, a genre of art commonly defined by the work of American male artists who worked on large scales across vast spaces, often in the deserts of America, in the 1960′s. Over the years, the project has evolved and they became increasingly interested in how environmental work might also become an invitation to participate and a framework for change. The two artists are interested in problems inherent in the Relational art model and the potential the model Social Sculpture, developed by German artist Joseph Beuys, may offer for supporting a dynamic engagement between artists and the public to imagine, and make forms in collaboration.

The public sculpture The Park is a conceptual idea that is a framework for; thinking across space, increasing perception of relationships between nature and man, and transforming private space into a public artwork and individual actions into collective outcomes.

Both Sarah Smuts-Kennedy and Taarati Taiaroa have their own individual art practices.

The Park was invited to be a foundation project for the Waitemata Local Boards inaugural Pop projects in 2014.