Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cherry Blossom Intruder Bunnies

Five, 23-foot white rabbits have been installed in Civic Center for most of the month of April.

Australian artist Amanda Parer created the public installation in 2014, and since then the bunnies have been traveling the world.

The artist's stated intention is to highlight the environmental devastation rabbits have caused on the continent of Australia after the non-native species were introduced by European immigrants in the 18th century.

On Sunday morning, there was an additional resonance to the art installation as the annual Japanese American Cherry Blossom Festival Parade was assembling on Polk Street before marching to Japantown on Geary Boulevard.

Australia has been famously, historically racist in its immigration policies, doing its best to keep out the Asian hordes surrounding its white, Anglo culture...

...which made the juxtaposition of people dressed in Japanese manga costumes posing in front of the rabbit "intruders" even odder to witness.

In the United States throughout most of the 20th century, Japanese Americans were legislated against as foreign intruders...

...and during World War Two they were sent to concentration camps, including a holding center at what is now the Tanforan Shopping Center in San Bruno (click here for a recent historical account by Gary Kamiya in the SF Chronicle).

The entire concept of what is "native" and what is an "intruder" is a thorny one, depending very much on who is supplying the historical narration.

Particularly in the two Edens that are California and Australia, we are all intruders, except for the aboriginal tribes who were here centuries before other humans.


sfwillie said...

Dear Michael, Maybe my bloodsugar is low, but, those bunnies are the most violent affront to Art I've seen in many moons. The beautiful Cherry Blossom costumes are Art. The bunnies are anti-Art.

The bunnies seem to make everyone in the plaza uncomfortable.

One explanation for how these bunnies came to appear on public property is the pay-to-play policy we've all heard about.

And who seeks any opinion, on invasive species or anything else, from someone who considers these bunnies Art?

Why am I so upset?

Michael Strickland said...

Dear Willie:

The giant bunnies don't bother me but am amused they are causing you such distress. As for the dysfunctional, corrupt SF Art Commission and the pay-to-play policies of City Hall, don't get me started.

Hattie said...

Them bunnies is ugly.

sfwillie said...

Hi Michael, You or some other Photoshop Wiz could show us how the bunnies would look if installed on the flight-deck part of the new DeYoung.

... inspiring a movement to turn the deck, currently reserved for emergency helicopter evacuations, into, like, a sculpture garden for girder-art.

janinsanfran said...

I was hoping you'd explore the bunnies. I caught a mildly interesting shot of the SFPD forming up adjacent to one of them during one of the recent police outrage pressers ... Couldn't quite figure out what to do with it.

Apropos of nothing: I went running on Montara Mountain the other day and met real bunnies at every turn. It was overcast and windless so there didn't seem to be hawks flying -- but I can't imagine those rabbits are long for this world.

Michael Strickland said...

Dear Jan: I want to see that SFPD Bunny Formation pic, though I understand how hard it might be to say anything that would explain anything so absurdist.

I love bunnies, by the way partly because they are so beautiful. So are hawks, for that matter, but as William Burroughs noted, "naked lunch, a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork."