In our latest discussion Ken and I talked a lot about trying to find a way to make our prairie a meditative place. Ken’s thoughts on depicting the wind environment really peaked my interest and has got me thinking about how this could be used to alter the dispersal conditions for various plants and how this might affect community dynamics. Early on, Ken showed me this map, and I like thinking about this on a smaller scale.
There are a few experiments that look at how the physical density of the plants in a community can alter the movement of species within that community. One I really like is by Katherine Marchetto et al. (see Oikos paper in 2010). In this study, Katherine and her colleagues altered the density of invasive thistle plants and the surrounding vegetation heights – and showed that the physical structure of the surrounding vegetation can alter how far the invasive species can move. I am really interested in potentially exploring this further with Ken.
My goal for the next time I talk to Ken is to spend some time drawing plants, I’m hoping it might give me some breakthroughs. Also, it will give me a chance to explore the more creative side of plants. Today, I went to the Matthaei Botanical Garden to get some inspiration, and really enjoyed the leaves that were changing color. These leaves inspired me when thinking about the landscapes that Ken discussed last time. He talked about how he is interested in different curved landscapes, and patterns within the landscapes, so I thought it might be neat to create the shapes of the landscapes from the shapes of native tree leaves. Instead of simple circles or waves, the designs could be a bit more complex and based on nature.
Blogged while listening to some binaural beats. (I’m feeling the brainwaves today)
After our last talk about wind and agents that affect dispersal I began sketching and brainstorming. A few things seemed to be swirling in my head- mostly the images I uploaded last week about ancient cultures moving earth to affect ecology/ agriculture/ or even creating a spiritual space. Images of the Nazca lines and the Llanos de Mojos sites seemed to be exerting influence. I also began thinking about this fossil I have (in my daily line of sight) of an ancient sea floor- with a dual ripple pattern. From these I began thinking about frequency and sketching a ripple pattern of concentric circles (think a drop echoing across a pond) forms to create in the land. Going back to turbulence topography, the idea of what/ how the landform affects the wind and the migration pattern of plants. I thought it might be interesting to see how this might be affected in a human made landscape (that still incorporates organic forms.) As I drew the concentric circles I was unsure how to fit them into a city lot. But then it dawned on me that there could be potential to have several city lots in various location but still within proximity. The lots could have a portion of the concentric circle pattern indicating a connection to the larger design. Viewed from above, the complete pattern would be implied through closure (gestalt theory) and reference a pulse within/ through the neighborhood. Also a clear reference to a remanent of a design, like a lost ruin or structure beneath the city.
I thought this might afford Lauren lots with different frequencies of the ripple (more or less drastic topographical change)
I also thought it might provide a unique earthwork for the urban space. Lauren and I have been continually returning to an interest in a work that is multi layered, science explorations and art and with another layer being a meditative or contemplative experience for the viewer. One common aspect of both disciplines is an intensity or stress due to uncertainties in the field. Lauren has mentioned how young scientists are faced with pressures for job and publishing immediately and that people in general in this time period could benefit from a meditative moment to engage with. We both think this is important and should have a place in our project. A project that might take place in a community in an urban setting could provide this through a focus on nature, careful plant selection, and the apparent soft ripple form moving in the ground and even digital monitoring of the wind.
This idea still resides in the urban science and art project category we are working on. But it was a good exercise to push it further, add complexity, see connections and references.