"Wait'll I get into interior decorating!" crows proud artist.

 

 

 

 

R.C.-er

SWAMPS GARDEN

Residential College landscape architect Laszlo Toth recently unveiled the results of a two and one-half year effort in which he single-handedly transformed the lovely University of Michigan Botanical Garden into a "totally useless marsh."

 

Toth explained that the project was an essential part of the Residential College program in which every member of the community must have direct experience in a creative and/or military art form. His dedicated graduate students have performed many imaginative tasks along these lines. Last year, in conjunction with the improvisational theater pro- gram, they chopped down every tree in the Nichols Arboretum. This spring, they plan to fill the Huron River with piranha.

 

R.C. director Marc ("Diamond Jim") Ross told this correspondent that he saw these and similar projects as a healthy change from the bitter negativism of the nineteen-sixties. "Back then, students wanted to tear everything down, and if they couldn't tear something down, they'd eat it alive. But thanks to the inspiration of Mr. Toth, students have really come around. Why, just last week, they filled my office with flour. And unbleached flour at that."

 

Toth insists that he is not an educator, artist, or hustler .... . in any conventional sense of the word. Rather, I would prefer to describe my activities as studies in conceptual geography. Changing the face of society is really small potatoes when you really think about it. Why, next year we're going to dig up the entire Upper Peninsula and make it into a giant barbecue pit. But I am glad to have interested so many fine students here. When I get tired out from a hard day paving over a vest-pocket park or turning a flighty little river into a nice, dignified swam p, I like to sit back and think of myself as just another plain old guru.

by Tom Olson and Bob Carasik

Last updated May 1975