Michael Zahn
Tiny Theme Park
January 8 - February 20, 2021

Press Release

Having just wandered down the hill from the Japanese bonsai collection, the Australian garden seems artless. Big bushes and long armed trees grow in a neglected field of grass. As I leave, I laugh, “What was that?” On the map, the Australian garden is a blank patch of brown.

My Lyft driver tells me after grad school she's thinking of moving somewhere far away. She lists her dream destinations: South Africa, Bristol, Australia.

Watching roller coaster reviews on YouTube, I hear the line: "For the first time, riders could fly deep into the wilds of the Forbidden Forest, beyond Hogwarts Castle, and much more….” I like theme park copy. For the first time. And much more. A ride creates a place that didn’t exist before, a place that only exists through riding.

Allie sends me a haiku she wrote:

What can one do well
But eat what lava provides
To ride on the rock

“My dad used to wear a robe around the house, and it was very floofy. I am small, so if I wear a puffy robe, it just looks so lame. The reason I don’t like robes is that I feel silly and dinky, and I don’t like feeling silly and dinky.” -KS

There is a house down the fire lane where I’m staying that has a big rectilinear tower at its centre. I’ve been sending photos of it to all my friends. Andy says:

I would love to know what it's like in that tower as well! I bet it seems like you're in the forest canopy. The one job I've consistently thought about as an ideal experience is the night shift of a fire watch deep in a Pacific northwest forest, but maybe during a low probability season. High above the trees in the dark, taking in the life of the forest at night, but also knowing that you're responsible to sound the alarm if fire appears, but that it likely won't, but still, it could.

Michael Zahn (b. 1982, Toronto; lives and works in Los Angeles) received his MFA from Art Center College of Design in 2013. He has most recently exhibited at Visitor Welcome Center, Treignac Projet, Commonwealth and Council, The Summer Room, Bel Ami, Shanaynay, 356 Mission, and Office Hours.