Birdhouse/Outhouse: The Semiotics of the Forest
Four c-prints, each 20 x 12 inches, 2003

The first outhouse on my family's summmer property in the Finnish archipelago was built by my grandfather in the 1950s, with a special manual door latch that turns from green to red to indicate that the outhouse is occupied. My grandfather was also an avid amateur ornithologist and had many birdhouses up on our property which needed to be cleaned out every summer so that new birds would next there the following year. I have taken on this job myself now, and once while doing it I realized how much the outhouse and the birdhouse resemble one another as structures. By adapting a door latch for the birdhouse, the two structures are now able to signal each other in a kind of forest semaphore.

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