Camouflaged in recycled artificial Christmas trees and powered by solar panels, the Porta Hedge is a lean, green dystopian machine. Conceived by Justin Shull, the mobile unit is a playful and portable shelter decked out with swings and chalkboards, but most importantly peepholes for observing life outside — unnoticed. So spy on your neighbors, observe their use of pesticides, toxic cleaners, and ugly hemp fashions. Report domestic terrorists, or at least make fun of hippies — all from the comfort of your own shrub-like surveillance unit, the fabulous Porta Hedge.
Writes Smudge Studio, “As a critical vehicle, the Porta Hedge turns the popularization and commercialization of ‘green’ into a new, questionable condition of life.” The Hedge’s intent is dual-purpose with an interior designed for playful observation of the “green” culture, but not missing a beat on being eco-friendly in its own right.
Visitors can swing on rope swings, draw on chalkboards, and observe outside action through peep-holes or the closed-circuit monitoring system. The hedge includes a device that plays bird songs in the hopes of attracting live animals to its artificial environment. The well-lit interior is lined with air-filtering plants, so observers don’t have to suffer toxic indoor air, and there’s a “porti-potty,” so they can relieve themselves unseen.
Artist Justin Shull originally conceived of the Porta Hedge while lounging on another mobile artificial landscape unit, the Porta Park (a plastic kind of of PARKcycle). Now he’s traveling the country with artists Christopher Manzione and Christopher Matrone, collecting chalkboard drawings, parking in big store parking lots, and surveying the American Landscape in pursuit of future Porta-Hedge Sites. So warn your neighbors: that square of shrubbery may not be so innocent.