Stranger Than Paradise

A Projective Glitch in Wildness

Conçu par J.Travis Bennett Russett

…[W]hat I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World. Every tree sends its fibers forth in search of the Wild. The cities import it at any price. Men plow and sail for it. From the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind. Our ancestors were savages. The story of Romulus and Remus being suckled by a wolf is not a meaningless fable. The founders of every state which has risen to eminence have drawn their nourishment and vigor from a similar wild source. It was because the children of the Empire were not suckled by the wolf that they were conquered and displaced by the children of the northern forests who were.

I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows.

So I would say,
— “How near to good is what is WILD!?”
Henry David Thoreau, Walking


A glitch is a sudden, usually temporary irregularity, an unexpected setback in a plan, something strange.

On Stranger than Paradise

Stranger than paradise would be spare work celebrating great achievements in the modern history of man, today: the breathtaking skyline of Dongjingyu. Stranger than paradise would be contemporaneous preservation and advancement, evanescent traditions, commodious abdication. Stranger than paradise would be a glitch, a singular, fugitive onset consciousness. This work, a curious, phenomenon of reflection projected onto make-believe geometry may be too subtle for acknowledgment. Imagine Walking and not happening upon something Wild.

On Design

The work is a 2.618033988749892… meter cube finished in polished stainless steel. The cube is set in the sky, perched at the apex of a subtly sloped earthen armature, concealed within the wilderness, on an axis orientated to the nearby footpath. The work is presented as six reflexive projections animated through point of view: Three faces reflect the sky, two faces reflect the wilderness and a single face reflects Dongjingyu. The extension of the armature below the metropolitan face of the cube is shaped into stairs only accessible by braving the steep rocky side of the cuesta. The bold are rewarded with a closer look into the city reflection.

On Construction

The structure of the cube is a lightweight steel skeleton fixed to a screw pile foundation. The cube is precision manufactured offsite and assembled onsite to minimize the local impact and time of construction. After the setting has expired, the work may be reversed, transplanted or disassembled and recycled, again with nominal impact on the site.

Design; 3-D and 2-D Drawing; Computer Rendering; Graphics and Presentation; Photography; and Description… Developed by J.Travis Bennett Russett

Location: Dongjingyu, Ji County, Tianjin, China
Site Area: 7 ha

Honorable Mention, Ruins-Rebirth: Dongjingyu Village Regeneration International Landscape Design Competition

Plasticité+ | TECH-NOIR β | Stranger Than Paradise | Wet, Dry & Recycle β | Volta