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"People really like the cage in general," Cowdin says. "I can tell."
The possum trap is integral to the narrative he has constructed around Bitterman's residency: An artist has been released into the wild, free to interact — and mess with the heads of — park visitors. He has placed an easy chair, a TV and a mini refrigerator in the far end of the cage, signs of the artist's former, domesticated life.
Amanda York, the IMA curatorial assistant assigned to Bitterman's project, explains that audience interaction is key to Indigenous.
"Bitterman will be present throughout 100 Acres and may interact with visitors who approach him using the language of hand gestures he's created," she says. "There's also a GPS tracker online [imamuseum.org/island2012] that reports where Bitterman is in real time, so park visitors can be aware of his exact location and use Twitter or Instagram to post a picture of him in his habitat. Additionally, people can feed the artists by using the nut dispenser installed in the park, leaving food in the park and clues as to where it may be online, and attend screenings of films created by Bitterman on the island."
For the less digitally inclined, there are old-school viewing stations installed in two locations around the lake — spotting scopes able to zoom in on the island for a closer look.
Then there's Bitterman's "area of unmediated flux," his phrase for the part of a dirt path he has lined with taxidermic animals (including a jackrabbit, a possum and a squirrel).
He has revived some of the same tools and strategies he used in his front yard, but on a much larger scale. There's a kiosk near the lake with the kinds of historic and geological information familiar from Point of Interest. And the six-week Bitterman occupation of this wooded space calls similar attention to connections shared by humans, nature and art.
"There's a notion that our built environment is somehow exempt from the natural world — emotionally, politically, physically," Cowdin says. "Accordingly, nature becomes a place we visit. Art is the same way. People go to visit art. They keep it separate. Art is at a place you go visit."
And the IMA's 100 Acres is, he knows, a built environment, a presentation of nature, dressed up for human consumption, on the grounds of an art museum. His point is to draw attention to all of this, not to criticize it. "You might think I'm bagging on it, but no. That's not what I'm trying to do."
So far, Bitterman has attracted visitors from outside the human part of the animal kingdom. Erdrich, who traveled to the museum to help with the installation, reports that the island is full of spiders. And a heron had already taken up residence on the sculpture.
"It just sits on it and shits there," Cowdin says with a Bitterman laugh. "I promised all the museum people that I would kill and roast it."