Dense Ecosystems with Flowing Water Sources Packed in Vintage Luggage

“Traveling Landscape, Grey Samsonite,” vintage train case, resin, artificial foliage, soil, water, water pump, and fluorescent light, 13 x 9 x 9 inches. All images © Kathleen Vance
“Traveling Landscape, Grey Samsonite,” vintage train case, resin, artificial foliage, soil, water, water pump, and fluorescent light, 13 x 9 x 9 inches. All images © Kathleen Vance

Kathleen Vance is a Brooklyn-based environmental artist who specializes in sculptural installations. The pieces in her recent series Traveling Landscapes, are special and more personal types of installations – tiny ecosystems placed inside vintage luggage.

The found luggage she uses to house her miniature landscapes ranges from small train cases and cases for musical instruments to grand first-class steamer trunks and piles of antique suitcases of all sorts. When the lids are raised, soft lights illuminate the bucolic ecosystems as if they are little portable fairy lands. Whether they depict rolling hills, grassy plains, or forests lush with tiny trees, most of them also have a water feature of some sort, a little stream or pond included with the sound of trickling water.

Vance says that she wants her work to make people more aware of their role in environmental stewardship, saying, “These pieces extenuate the desire for ‘untouched’ natural environments, and the claim and proprietorship that are placed on plots of land…” By connecting these verdant landscapes with the tools we use to travel to such places, her work evokes that sense of responsibility towards the natural world around us.

“Traveling Landscape, Luce,” vintage train case, resin, artificial foliage, soil, water, water pump, and fluorescent light, 11 x 6.5 x 8 inches
“Traveling Landscape, Luce,” vintage train case, resin, artificial foliage, soil, water, water pump, and fluorescent light, 11 x 6.5 x 8 inches
“Traveling Landscape, Ornate Silver,” ornate metal and wooden chest, soil, stones, resin, artificial, foliage, and water, 12 x 12 x 17 inches
“Traveling Landscape, Ornate Silver,” ornate metal and wooden chest, soil, stones, resin, artificial, foliage, and water, 12 x 12 x 17 inches
“Traveling Landscape, Golden Interior,” 12.5 x 5 x 8 inches
“Traveling Landscape, Golden Interior,” 12.5 x 5 x 8 inches
“Traveling Landscape, Spelunker,” found traveling case, hand sculpted stalactites and stalagmites, resin, paint, artificial foliage, and soil, 13 x 9 x 9 inches
“Traveling Landscape, Spelunker,” found traveling case, hand sculpted stalactites and stalagmites, resin, paint, artificial foliage, and soil, 13 x 9 x 9 inches
“Traveling Landscape, Assembly,” antique case, hand sculpted landscape, resin, paint, artificial foliage and trees, and a bulb light
“Traveling Landscape, Assembly,” antique case, hand sculpted landscape, resin, paint, artificial foliage and trees, and a bulb light
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