Participatory ecology through community observation networks creating virtual and handmade tools for observing, recording, imagining, and sharing in the local landscape
I think that the man of science makes this mistake, and the mass of mankind along with him: that you should coolly give your chief attention to the phenomenon which excites you as something independent on you, and not as it is related to you…. With regard to such objects, I find that it is not they themselves (with which the men of science deal) that concern me; the point of interest is somewhere between me and them (i. e. the objects).
–Henry David Thoreau from his journal in 1857
Field Station Concordia takes the form of a bird blind created from reclaimed materials in the dimensions of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden. Created as a field station for the gathering of data about the local ecology in the form of observations, handmade and virtual representations, and texts and maps that challenge and reimagine the separation of human and natural agency. The bird blind functions as a platform for data collection, community gathering, citizen science, handmade and digital explorations of plant and animal life, and a conversation full of questions about the vibrancy of matter and our role in the stresses and resiliences of ecosystems. The project seeks to activate individuals to consider themselves citizen scientists in a desire to active our connection to this vague thing we have called “nature” with political, social and economic meaning and weight and also a civic engagement with our backyards as part of a larger ecosystem of towns, industries, politics, and economies.
We can consider the bird blind as a sensorium for a fully porous perception of the landscape stretching from the DeCordova through Concord to Walden Pond to 2229 Main Street in Concord, the Nuclear Metals Superfund site (which got its start in 1942 as part of the Manhattan project). The project is guided by the radical environmentalist of Thoreau, who saw himself politically, spiritually, economically, and socially as one active agent in a community of active agents. Thoreau’s lifetime of observations in the form of the Kalendar (as he called it, a seasonally organized collection of his observations of weather, plant phonological phases, birds, mushrooms, lichen, etc.), journal and published reflections, and surveying (as a constant walker of the land and as a paid surveyor) will echo in the project in the form of collections of observations (digital, written, and represented), texts (lists, calendars, and edited dialogs), and mobile architectures (the reimagined bird blind and bike field stations).
DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park
April 9 – August 9, 2013
for more info: Fieldstation.net (in development)