Strange Formation: ‘The Human Nest’ at Big Sur
October 26, 2011
The Human Nest at Big Sur. Photo: Jesse Roesler
In Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, Henry Miller chronicled the days and nights he spent at his own personal Walden, a “virtual paradise” populated by colorful birds and crawling creatures, nestled in the “unique and seductive” contours of the “young” land. Miller’s Big Sur invokes the preternatural imagery and ambiance of Bosch’s phantasmagorical visions, wherein all sorts of animal chimeras graze on verdant pastures abutting hellish crevices and darkened coves. Among these strange formations, as Miller terms them, the Human Nest is perfectly at home, another vibrant and indelible entity in this land of dreamers, outlaws, and forerunners. More after the jump!
Photo: Jesse Roesler
Located along the Big Sur coast facing the Pacific Ocean, the Human Nest is an eddy of a treehouse, comprised entirely of eucalyptus branches that have been bent, knotted, and twisted into a striking composition. Created by artist Jayson Fann for the Treebones Resort using scrap wood collected from tree trimmers, the driftwood harborage can shelter up to eight people and is large enough to enclose a pitched tent, in the event of rain.
The view of the Pacific. Photo: Jesse Roesler
The Human Nest is just one of several similar structures that Fann has installed in and around Big Sur. To build one, he bends upwards a thousand individual branches and assembles them into a pattern or form. Although they appear quite light, each installation may weigh up to two tons, tethered to the ground only by simple screws.
Moonlight falls through the cocoon’s porous envelope, under which guests may explore Big Sur as imagined by Jeffers, Kerouac, Thompson, and a host of other literary luminaries. Outside, the distant sounds of the shifting tides and winds foreground, as Miller wrote, the cognitive shaping of “new land, new figures of earth. . . . advancing toward the other world of long ago and far away, the world of yesterday and today. The world within the world.”