connecting thru grasses
This website documents the participatory project tied with the exhibition.
Overall project description: The prairie habitat is one of the most endangered in Canada and only a small fraction of the original tallgrass prairie remains post-colonization. Despite years of over-cultivation, the grasses continue to hold the land together with their vast root systems.
Looking to prairie grass ecosystems, as well as the technologies that map and reflect the diminishing biome, connecting thru grasses considers how we might both map and define prairie boundaries anew. Considering how satellites passing overhead reflect an image of the earth (and thus of ourselves) back to us, and how these images shape or mis-shape our understanding of the land and our relationship to it, the work looks closer at TERRA, a research satellite that has circled the earth since 1999 constructing images for use in the monitoring of environmental and climate data.
As TERRA passes overhead, the ASTER instrument onboard captures data and constructs an image approximately every 8 minutes per orbit – I wonder about what it fails to capture – what might be happening on the ground during the time it misses, and how these omissions result in a reading that isn’t quite complete.
Ecologically, prairie landscapes are incredibly diverse; thousands of species coexist without distinct boundaries between communities. These plants with strong roots act as a metaphor for building community across the region, and in so doing, open up other possibilities for transcending borders, distance and relation.
**I’m grateful to the Edmonton Arts Council for support through their Creators’ Reserve Grant, which allowed me the time and space to consider and develop this project across the summer of 2020**