Please Keep Off the Grass is a framed patch of stolen grass. It is an intervention in public space that was installed in the Nazrin Shah Building at Worcester College, University of Oxford for a short period in spring 2017.
Grass is taken very seriously at Oxford. There are strict rules against walking on the pristine lawns, and large amounts of labor and capital are dedicated to their appearance and upkeep.
The installation facetiously takes the idea of "venerating" the grass to its extreme. The Shah building was temporarily converted into a small gallery (or maybe shrine) for the grass. By bringing the outdoors indoors, framing it, and recontextualizing it as art, the piece pokes fun at the lengths we go to preserve beautiful things in the face of time.
I stuck around the space after installing the frame in secret; reactions ranged from laughter to confusion to nonchalant acceptance. Throughout the day, I cared for the piece by watering it while it was on the wall. After de-installing the piece, I donated it to the D.Phil office at the Oxford Internet Institue.
Through the experience of taking care of the grass in the weeks leading up to the installation, I had developed an emotional attachment to the grass—I'm grateful that it has found a home beyond my time at Oxford.