Flat Pack Feral

A wooden palette of cardboard boxes is placed on cleared land at the edge of a forest. Printed instructions explain that participants should move the boxes up into the forest and open them to explore their contents. The boxes contain bits and pieces of the detritus of a feral existence – a tent, tarpaulin sleeping bag, clothes, etc. – all neatly wrapped in bubble wrap. Additional instructions inside the boxes explain what to do with these items, as well as activities that can be performed in relation to them. The aim is to play up contradictions and subterranean alignments between the poetic disorder of a marginal existence and the regularities of commodity form.


Initial (on all boxes) Begin this activity at 12:30. Pick up a box if one is available. Otherwise join with somebody who has already picked up a box. Together as a group carry the boxes some way into the forest until no more buildings or areas of cleared land are visible. Search for a roughly level spot suitable to set up a campsite. Sit down for five minutes and listen in silence to the forest. Then unpack the boxes. You will find further instructions inside. Place all wrapping material back in boxes.

Box 1 (Tent)

A: Find a flattish spot to setup a small tent. Lightly clear the area of stones and twigs. Set aside the cleared items in a small pile. Erect the tent. Inflate the sleeping mat and put inside the tent. Unzip the sleeping bag and place along the length of the mat. Find another set of instructions at the foot of the open sleeping bag. Leave the tent before reading them. Tape this instruction to a tree.

B: Draw a sketch, each on a separate page, of the various cleared items that you set aside (as many as you can manage). Label each sketch in the following format, “Cleared Item 000x”. Tape each sketch to a tree. Tape this instruction to a tree.

Box 2 (Tarpaulin)

Improvise a tarpaulin shelter to sit beneath and to cover the food at night. Add an annexe to this shelter that is constructed of natural materials. Add an annexe to this annexe that is constructed of lighter natural materials. Sit beneath the secondary annexe and draw a diagram of the collapse of capitalism. Others may care to add further annexes – all composed of lighter materials than the last – and further diagrams. Tape the diagrams to a tree. Tape this instruction to a tree.

Box 3 (Clothes)

A: Open the bag and look for the three books inside. The books contain pieces of paper marking sections of text for reading. The pieces of paper also contain further instructions. Tape this instruction to a tree.

B: Answer the following questions:

  1. Briefly summarise the section of text.
  2. What is the relationship between the section of text and the surrounding forest?
  3. Forget about what you have just read, what do you immediately see?

Use additional sheets of paper if necessary. Tape your answers to a tree. Others can add and subtract from your answers. Place the bag in the tent. Strew the clothes and books around the tent. Tape this instruction to a tree.

Box 4 (Fireplace)

A: Use the rocks to set up a fireplace near the tent and tarpaulin shelter. Build the makings of a fire, but do not light it. You will find further instructions inside the matchbox. Tape this instruction to a tree.

B: Find five rocks similar to those just used to build the fireplace. Paint a different coloured dot on each of them. Balance the rocks one on top of another to make a tower. Can you balance all five? If so, record the sequence of rocks by painting a horizontal line of appropriately coloured dots on a large sheet of paper in the following format:

Lowest Highest O O O O O

Try another sequence and keep a similar painted record just beneath the first one. Build as many different tower sequences as possible. Once you have exhausted the possibilities tape your record of stone tower sequences to a tree. All free to add further sequences. Tape this instruction to a tree.

Box 5 (Food)

A: Create a three-course meal using any of the available food materials. Create a menu for the overall meal on a sheet of paper. Write the recipe for each course on a separate sheet of paper, including a sketch of the finished result. Arrange the meal beneath the blue tarpaulin. Eat a portion of the meal. Offer it to others. Tape all of your documentation to a tree. There is an additional instruction in the container of flour. Tape this instruction to a tree.

B: Draw a spiral of flour on the ground. Others may wish to draw more spirals. If you run out of flour use sand, soil, rocks, leaves, branches, etc. Tape this instruction to a tree.

Box 6 (Water)

Take an empty water bottle and fill it with water from a nearby creek. Describe the qualities of the water on a small label and stick it to the bottle. Draw a map of your route to the creek on another sheet of paper. Tape the map to a tree. Others can follow the same process. Discover as many creeks, routes and qualities as possible. Tape this instruction to a tree.

Box 7 (Paths)

Remove one roll of ‘fragile’ tape and one pair of scissors and mark a path from where the boxes were initially placed at the edge of the forest to the campsite. Marking a path involves attaching short pieces of tape at regular intervals to bushes and branches to indicate a direction to walk. Remove different coloured rolls of tape to mark various paths out into the forest to places where the campsite is no longer visible:

  • A place to shit (yellow and black tape)
  • A place to become lost and afraid at night (red and white tape)
  • A place that is difficult to reach (fluoro orange tape)
  • A place that is beautiful (fluoro pink tape)

Draw a map of the five paths on the large sheet of paper and tape it to a tree. Tape this instruction to a tree.

Box 8 (Observations)

Make the following observations on separate sheets of paper:

  • Map one square metre of ground
  • Map the campsite
  • Draw the tarp shelter
  • Draw the tent
  • Draw the fireplace
  • How many trees are within view from the centre of the campsite?
  • Describe the forest
  • Describe the forest again.

You can choose between plain white paper and graph paper to make these observations. Later visitors are encouraged to add further observations. Provide a title for each observation. Tape each observation to a tree. Tape this instruction to a tree.

Box 9 (Camera)

Take photographs of all relevant activities that occur. Pass this camera to somebody else if you no longer wish to take photographs. The last person places the camera inside the tent. Tape this instruction to a tree.