Nicolaii Dornstauder MFA Thesis Spring 2009
A Philosophy of Camp Prosthesis
I drive a 1978 Volkswagen van. In it are a sink, an icebox, built-in propane stove, and numerous compartments in which to organize things. The van is an extension of my home, a mediator between my constructed space and the outdoors. Although the van affords me the comforts of home, I enjoy camping with next to nothing. Once outdoors, I welcome the unpleasant feelings that nature may deliver. I surrender to nature, in an attempt to achieve a momentary catharsis from the everyday. And although I do not necessarily enjoy the ways in which the elements may feel, I embrace them for their honesty. The cold takes over my body, and in this I feel apart of something greater. I confess that I partake in the ritual of camping because it is only temporary. Eventually, I know that I will cross the threshold back into the familiarity of my van, which will carry me closer to the even more familiar — home. The threshold is always there, inviting me to cross it, providing me with the paradox of being human. With this thesis, I wanted to explore the human longing for nature and the subsequent creation of a fantasy of the outdoors. I introduce five objects that act as prosthetics that humans use to experience nature. These objects act as an extension of the human into the natural world, a world in which we do not use our bare hands. The human hand is detached from the natural world, and as a result, is the creator of a different reality.