Table for Contemplation and Action (A Place to Share Beauty and Fear)
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Public Art/Design/Research, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN; team:
Rebecca Krinke, concept/team leader,
Kevin Groenke and Justin Kindlespire, design consultation, woodworking, metalsmithing,
Peter Zelle and Michael Boyd, glass vessel,
McGrath Architectural Sheet Metal, copper box.

Materials: wood (maple and walnut), copper, glass, found objects (chairs), paper; dimensions variable as installation; 2009-present.

News Release: December 2009 (PDF)

Press Coverage: St. Paul Pioneer Press

The Table for Contemplation and Action is located in the interior public courtyard of Rapson Hall on the University of Minnesota campus and is in virtually continuous use by students. The six foot square wooden table has a central copper box containing a changing unusual element from the outdoors (to date, pine needles, tree bark, leaves, and moss). The table also provides students with the opportunity to write about fear/stress/worries and to deposit these writings into the table’s blown glass vessel. When the vessel is full, the papers will be emptied and burned without reading.

Some of the many positive responses written in the comment book at the table include: “A wonderful place to sit and study. Sight, texture, smell, lovely. The opportunity to write something down and let it go is very freeing and I am thankful for it” and “Thanks for the opportunity to jettison extra thought baggage. I like the smell of the pine in my hands.”

Writing is completely voluntary. Anyone is invited to use the table: for studying, meeting, and eating. Recently someone was inspired to leave a small vase of flowers at the table. A visitor to the table wrote, “We do not take time out of our days to try and help ourselves calm down and a reminder to do that is soothing.”





Selected transcriptions of comments written in comment book: 
Table for Contemplation and Action (A Place to Share Beauty and Fear)
Typed as found - As of December 2009

 

“This is such a good idea! Love it!”
Clare

“Thanks for the opportunity to jettison extra thought baggage. I like the smell of the pine in my hands.”

“I like how it brings happynis to me, feels… holly. I don know but it feels good!
Eric A.
Kid (graeca)

“The blend of nature and a work space is such an incredible idea. I had to stop to look at it.”

“We really enjoyed using this table for our landscape project. It was nice to have a smooth surface to work on. Thanks.”

“Sexy.”

“The sudden appearance of green moss on the table was:
            -Exhilarating
      -Calming
            -Refreshing
           -Stimulating
                                              -Cause for stopping to write this
All because I didn’t expect to see it maybe?
Its appearance (the moss) coinciding with the weather getting nicer was perhaps one that caused me to think about the rebirth of things – even the rebirth of this contemplative space. Unfortunately it has one also thinking about the rebirth of my social life in a week, when I should actually be working! ”

“Table is wonderful & helpful…Smell not so much. Maybe consider better fragrance.”

“I enjoyed how each chair is slightly different than each other. Although I see wasted space. Why are there so many cubbyholes. They all can’t be useful because they are all the same small size. I wonder if the double horizontal layer of veneer needed to be used. There are limitations here too. The table occupies a bunch of space but you can only use ¾ of the surface area. It would be nice to see a “leaf” insert over the moss so that 100% of the surface area may be used.”

“Great work, landscape, shelf, desk, and very comfortable chairs. I liked it and took an interesting time. The bottle and its holder remembered me the milk holder of my grandmother. Thanks!”

“Hep-hep- Twas a chill table where the grass grows.

“It saddens me that there are no living things on the table. The moss is in suspended animation. But it’s still a good idea and it got me to write something.”

“Love to see more of this kind of work.”
(included drawing of a variation of the table and chair)

“I was an apprentice in Tokyo for Saikei (bonsai-esque landscape) and we used moss always. I’m transported back to those days –thank you!”
(included drawing with labels of “any old plan/tree/flower”, “moss “, “rough ceramic cup”.)

“If you add some small creatures at the center of the table, it will be awesome!! And then, put a glass on them so that they will not run away!”
(included drawing of insect under glass.)

“I’m here to get something done-----then get something built!”
James

“It ain’t easy being green”

“Thank you for this experience! (grazie per questo experienza!) From Naples with love!”
Name and webpage followed

“Me like this. Oh table…why are you here??? So earthy with textures & cones, you deserve so much more. You deserve the right to inspire, inspire those in lonely places. Here, in this place there is only happiness.”

“Thank you!”
J

“Love the creativity!”
Will

“I think smell is just as important at this table as sight: it’s too bad we can’t get the actual earthy freshness of live moss, but the scent of the packaged stuff has enough aroma to define a space through more than physical dimensions.”

“I’m lovin’ it!
Go green!”

“Thank you for this place to sit…”
(included full-page multicolor color drawing of circle in grid signed in ink.)

“Thank you for this wonderful table! It is beautiful and helps me concentrate when studying. This table would work well in and all around the Rapson Hall courtyard.”
Travis P.

“A wonderful place to sit and study. Sight, texture, smell, lovely. The opportunity to write something down and let it go is very freeing and I am thankful for it. We do not take time out of our days to try and help ourselves calm down and a reminder to do that is soothing. Thank you. Beautiful construction too!”

“Such a well crafted and well conceived table for a vacuous space. Reminds me of the power of design.”

“There once was a man, who died on the cross, all for you! His name---Jesus Christ.”

“Sitting here studying for a midterm I have to take early. Thanks for the calming table.
Clifford

Full page drawing of leaves surrounded by text in an unfamiliar language. 

“A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.”
-Albert Camus

“Textures are great. I’d like to see a set/sense of furniture pieces like this all over Rapson public areas…I like the little shelves all around the edge of the table. I wish they were used for something…”


 
 
       
       
       
 
Copyright© 2009, Rebecca J. Krinke, All Rights Reserved.