Last month, Amanda Parer’s installation “Intrude” came to Denver. Featuring giant nylon inflatable rabbits, the exhibition took over busy city corners. Illuminated from within, the bunnies light up as the suns sets. Parer highlights rabbits to draw attention to the immense ecological damage they have caused in her native Australia for over 150 years.
|I saw Intrude in Denver at the end of June.|
Instead of conveying the immensity of the invasion in quantity, Parer does so in magnitude. The size of the bunnies draws you in to convey the immensity of the problem they pose. There is a relevant dichotomy of rabbits. Representing innocence and often pictured frolicking among meadows, rabbits are undeniably cute. It is hard to imagine that they impose significant environmental destruction. When we think of an invasive species, I often think of insects such as the Mountain Pine Beetle destroying the forests near Denver in Rocky Mountain National Park or the periodic cicada invasions on the East Coast – but never rabbits. Therefore, the size of Parer’s installation addresses “’the elephant in the room’, the problem, like our environmental impact, big but easily ignored” (Parer). Moreover, Parer pairs size with mobility. Currently on a tour across the country and around the world, the rabbits “intrude” new locations to draw attention to this environmental dilemma.
|A bunny among the skyscrapers.|
I chose to discuss this exhibition because art is used to express a significant environmental issue. It is one thing to publish articles, but I find it more effective to engage viewers so they can experience the issue. Parer draws awareness by creating a space that is easily integrated into cities and can be enjoyed by the masses. It was clear everyone at the exhibit enjoyed what they saw. Parer’s installation isn’t like most art exhibits where you have to maintain a certain distance from the pieces. Many (myself included) approached the rabbits and took in the sheer magnitude. Most haven’t heard of Intrude and weren’t aware of the installation being in Denver to begin with, so it was interesting to observe people experience the rabbits.
|Left: I'm about 5'5", to give perspective about the size of the rabbits. Right: The public enjoying Intrude in Denver's Republic Plaza.|
Things are not always as they seem, and outward appearances – like that of adorable rabbits – aren’t always reflective of their true impact. However, with innovative and artistic techniques to engage the public, more attention can be drawn to necessary issues. Below is a link to Parer’s website and schedule for the installation. If it’s in your area, I highly recommend seeing it!
|Me with one of the volunteers facilitating Intrude|
"Dealing With Australia's Massive Feral Rabbit Problem." About.com Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 July 2016.
Zuckerman, Wendy. "Australia's Battle with the Bunny." ABC Science. N.p., 08 Apr. 2009. Web. 19 July 2016.
Munro, Cait. "Five Giant, Glowing Rabbits Are Coming for North America." Artnet News. N.p., 11 Mar. 2016. Web. 19 July 2016.
"Intrude - Public Light Art Installation - Amanda Parer." Amanda Parer. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 July 2016.
"Feral European Rabbit." Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population, and Communities. Australian Government, n.d. Web. 19 July 2016.
"Intrude by Amanda Parer." YouTube. Maroochy Music and Visual Arts Festival, 21 May 2015. Web. 19 July 2016.
All photos are mine and were taken by either me or my mom.