Max Hooper Schneider works with ecosystems (emphasis on the “systems”). His odd vitrines almost always have something strange in them (crocodile appendages, electric eels), and more often than not they harbor some inner secret. He is currently in the process of “acquiring an abandoned shopping mall in Ohio and setting parameters that allow it to be succeeded as a botanical garden/wildlife refuge.” Here, Max Hooper Schneider discusses his sources of inspiration.
How do you find inspiration? In matter itself. In the language surrounding nonhuman taxa. Here’s an example: Despite the catastrophic nature of the recent Hurricane Matthew, manatees in Florida have learned to exploit the fleeting floodplains left in its wake and graze on submerged suburban lawns. This fills me with so much inspiration I could burst.
If you could trade a work with anyone, who would it be? My longings change all the time. Today I would like a teahouse by the architect Terunobu Fujimori.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? John Kricfalusi, the creator of the generation-improving cartoon Ren & Stimpy, advised me to ‘enforce anality at every turn’ when I was 14.
Do you have any unrealized projects? Even when my works are ‘complete’ I feel they are unrealized; they are not autonomous objects. This is a very old notion. They are embedded in a multiverse of situations that will host their permutation in some way or another, be it language, market, maintenance, moisture content and so on. This may sound quite literal, but in this way, all of them.