Agnes Denes is most well known for her work Wheatfield: A Confrontation, but Denes has also created and crucially proposed many other works.
One of the proposed works, and one which is streakily relevant for me and my rewilding project, is A Forest For New York – A Peace Park For Mind And Soul. The following imagery is from the proposal on her website:
Although not called as such, Denes is affectively proposing a rewilding project for an area of unused land in New York, something which I find very interesting, as before working on my rewilding project, I wasn’t aware that rewilding – or even proposed rewilding – could be an artistic pursuit in of itself, and still face internal conflict over what constitutes art – something which I am attempting to change through this project.
However, the thing which strikes me most about this proposal, is the confidence with which it is written – Denes has created a proposal which both feels like she is selling the idea (not in monetary terms, but in terms of being engaging and enthusiastic enough to both attract investors in the project, but also to get the go ahead from the necessary parties in order to proceed with the project (it is worth noting that this project remains a proposal and has not actually been created). Although it is just the proposal, Denes has written the proposal so that in has the feeling of certainty that it will happen – a feeling which I think is crucial to making the proposal more engaging and appealing, as it shows the level of work and consideration that has gone into the project, as well as highlighting her passion and reason for it.
Another key element to her building her proposal is the structure that she has written it in. As you can see from the screenshot above, Denes opens the proposal with three references to her other previous (and crucially similar) work, which provides three valuable case studies for the relevant parties to examine and understand the strength and vitality of her work. She then explores the technicalities and logistics of her proposed work, stating where (and why she has chosen that location) she plans to situate the work, and the form that the work will take. Immediately after this, she has included incentives as to why turning this site into a forest rather than real estate is a good thing for the city, the planet and the people – a crucial step in the contemporary frenzy of rampant capitalism, where the planet and the people fall by the wayside in the search for ever more profit.
The rest of the proposal lists several other incentives for the concerned parties – selling them at the promise of a utopian idll in New York – an extremely urban environment.
Although I have already written and given my proposal to the concerned parties for my rewilding project (which will hopefully get underway in the summer), I am very keen to implement what I have learnt from reading this proposal from Agnes Denes into a condensed version which the viewers of my work can take away with them – providing the correct level of information, which will explain what I’m doing with the project, why I’m doing it and be an engaging and interesting document for them to take away. In order to do this, I will emulate the structure that Denes has used here, keeping it short and largely devoid of technical information (apart from the bare necessities) , but listing why the project needs to happen and the huge benefits and incentives there are in the creation of the project, in order to engage and excite the viewer. Denes’ proposal has also shown me that you don’t need to include a huge volume imagery either – one key image, which shows what you plan to do in the project (a maquette) is enough to get the audience engaged and also means that they are much more easily able to visualise what you are proposing, which also makes it easier for them to understand.
Source: Denes, A. (2014) A Forest For New York – A Peace Park For Mind And Soul [Proposed work]. Available at: http://agnesdenesstudio.com/works1.html (Accessed: 3 June 2022)