Actually, a love of nature is very important to the critique of minimalism. When I showed the image of the balcony with flowerpots, one of the reasons it seemed to have life was because it did have actual life. Our spaces can appear most dead and miserable when they don’t have any plant or animal life, when we have literally killed every single living thing that once inhabited a patch of ground. I was at the airport the other day, and I suddenly felt incredibly pained and uncomfortable, like I couldn’t breathe. I had a strong sensation that I was in a dead place, a kind of hell where nothing lived. I could not see a single plant. Everything around me was gray, dismal. It was tarmac and hallways. It depressed the hell out of me, because I think gardens should be everywhere. (Imagine, if you will, airport hallways that were made of trellises covered in vines and flowers, a terminal that felt like a greenhouse. Perhaps some birds in the rafters, crapping on the occasional traveler to remind them that there are worse problems than a delayed flight. But no snakes, for obvious reasons.)

Nathan J. Robinson

Minimalism has to limit the presence of life, because life always oversteps the boundaries. It’s always excessive. Wherever there’s life, then, one can only be so minimalistic.