Thanks for being interested in my project.
I mentioned I would put together something brief to give you a better idea of what I'm going for with my project. What follows is a cut and paste description from the various proposals and briefs that I have floating around, plus some images of the maquettes for some of the objects.
The project is called IMPLEMENTS FOR FUTURE GLACIAL SCOURING, and it is a multi-venue project including a book (under contract with Punctum Books, NYC), gallery exhibitions, and temporary public and permanent landscape installations.
My most recent work is looking at the environmental conditions of the deep future (100,000 years from now) in a way that speculates about how humans can begin a collaboration now with different natural forces in the deep future. At the moment this all focuses on the next ice age (which should occur in 100,000 years) and I am building objects and models that can help us imagine that future now. These will be in a gallery exhibition in 2018. I am also building tools that are public sculptural works (to be installed in 2018) but that can be used by future climate events like glaciers. For example, 40,000 years ago glaciers moved a lot of granite boulders from Canada into the United States and this granite acted as a cutting tool to carve and shape the landscape along the way. My sculptures are designed to be cutting tools for a future glacier and they are arranged in landscapes using particular patterns so that when they are used by a glacier they will make a series of predictable marks. But even if my sculptures survive until the next ice age (which I don't think they actually will), no one would ever see the marks that would be left by the sculptures because humans will most likely be extinct. So to help people imagine this future, I am working on paintings and drawings of the future landscapes that help people see what those marks in the environment will look like.
I think it is important to mention that the sculptures are all made using materials that move through the supply chain, some of them are waste materials, others are natural materials, but all of the materials share one thing in common: they are all the result of human-driven over consumption of resources which is at the root of climate change acceleration (the cause of our likely demise). The objects reflect how things like custom kitchen counter tops are against our best interest when it comes to survival and a clear transgression of the land (which humans love to do).
Implements for Future Glacial Scouring is an exhibition and book about a landscape project that will make the last intentional mark on Earth long after humans have become extinct. In the meantime, the exhibition draws attention to the ways we make marks on the planet, exposes how those traces are connected to accelerated climate change, and offers a new approach to future-oriented design. Like a book-end rhyme for some of our first tools as humans, the project employs stones and other cutting tools to carve one final farewell mark in the landscape should humans go extinct.
It begins with an exhibit of fabricated objects that are potential landscape-cutting tools. These tools enable collaboration across geologic time between humans and inanimate geologic events of the deep future. After exhibition, a set of social-engagement conservation activities preserve the project until human extinction, and the project completes when the next ice sheet (if it ever comes) picks up where humans left off by hopefully using the implements to shape a new landscape. The next global glacial period is at least 100,000 years in the future, so in some sense this is speculative, but with the conservation activities, it becomes more plausible as a project. Still, the idea is to help people visualize an earth that is repairing itself after recovering from climate change and returning to homeostasis.
During the exhibit, the objects are presented as physical and digital landscape models arranged to show possible stages of geomorphological progression over deep time. Select full scale objects are placed inside and outside of the gallery. Visitors receive didactic tools including identification charts and viewfinders to help imagine how particular exhibited objects and the everyday built-environment would shape the landscape under glacial forces. An open access print and electronic book accompanies the exhibit with project documentation and interdisciplinary essays by critics, architects, designers, psychologists, and geologists.
Specific materials are used to make these cutting tools, drawing a formal comparison between natural glacial movement of materials and our route-optimized movement of materials through human supply chains, pointing always to climate change acceleration caused by our consumption. Most of my work looks at how the supply chain is a kind of geologic force because it can move natural materials faster and farther than nature ever could. So my implements directly reference this extraction origin.
These implements serve various functions. They carve, melt, abrade, color, polish, replant, and when deployed according to a specified design language will make marks in the environment with somewhat predictable results, opening new ideas about material use for deep future effects. This predictability enables me to collaborate with a future glacier to design a landscape after human extinction and to speculate about what that landscape might look like. This will be visually elaborated to help viewers see the latent power in these totemic objects.
Last fall I was invited to give a talk about this project to a group of landscape architects and students at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. They recorded the talk with a cellphone and put it on YouTube (I'm not proud of the quality, but I didn't make the video). If you want to see it, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWaZ-bW8BlM
Below are select images from the set of models and objects I am building for the gallery exhibit and installation of temporary public work and permanent landscape work in 2018: