research, sketches, ideas, questions

Month: August, 2012

two screens test

by studiojane

ideas for a double projection–1 screen with footage from shore (and of shore) and one screen with footage from flotant
all footage should feel like its searching/looking/from a vantage point of some seeing eye
double projection emphasizes the community / flotant construct of the project
screens could be next to each other, facing each other, facing away from each other (on both sides of one wall)

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Crochet Inspirations

by andisutton

crochet sources

by studiojane

crochet as edging, decoration, system, domestic, conversation form, additive, structural, decorative, familiar, shared, fun, participatory, aggregative

Visions, Ideas, and Next Steps

by andisutton

Conceptual meditations on marshes and death, prompted by Michael Taussig and John Stilgoe:

Marshes, Miasma, Decay, Death, Slowness, Failure, Marshes ‘rejected/subsumed’ by culture, the ‘boringness’ of marsh landscape blanketing the interesting essential utility of it’s hidden power (water filtration, flood relief, stinky/smelly nursery for micro organisms), Life from death & life cycles; Need for satire/spectacle to complement the death/failure/slowness/boringness of the flotants, Death metaphor/closeness with death providing helpful introduction to essential connection between death and transition (see: climate change/culture change/behavior change/adaptation/extinction), Funeral dirges, Pay attention to the humor of the slowness of marsh growth to the spectacle of marsh cultivation and care

Design meditations, prompted by discussion and excitement around “the domestic”, care work, and handwork:

Crochet, Quilting bees, Stitch and Bitch, Sampler quilts/sampler crochet throws,  Is the pirate radio station like an audio ‘sampler’ of sorts?  Similarly could the audio track to the video be an audio/idea “sampler”, Incorporate crochet mock-ups into installation as inspiration, integrate group crochet workshop into gallery show and/or community engagement opportunity for making of flotants, Explore crochet lace and edging and crocheted fish nets and other structures, Begin with ‘hard’ structure (provides ballast for mussels, radio tower, etc.) but make flexible enough to withstand rough seas, Incorporate recycled materials and found objects that can float, Use jute or natural hemp rope to make crocheted matte for salt marsh plants to root into

Design meditations, prompted by discussion about ‘Culture’ objects/initiatives on land that draws attention to flotants installed at sea:

Consider greywater systems: workshop that teaches people to make their own greywater filtration in a way that patterns the effects/designs of flotants, Look at observation decks and think about land-based observation site that mimics forms out at sea (maybe it incorporates a mail station/radio station/message in bottle making/allows for feeling and smelling marsh-like things), Welcome events/spectacle: mussel food truck/food truck for swimming/single-celled organisms/welcome party for ‘rogue’ marsh arriving at new location/community created marshes using crochet technique and deployment festival, Flotants need to be close and far at the same time – conceptually, emotionally, and literally – use communication strategy to achieve “closeness” and connection/compassion (adopt a flotant/community-supported flotants”)


by studiojane

Design ideas and visions

by andisutton

Earlier posts on the constructed marshes in Baltimore and the proposal of ‘marsh lace’ in Venice led me down a research rabbit hole following the lead on colonial lace and quilt designs. I’m very excited about the possibility of creating ‘lacy edges’ that echo old colonial Bostonia, and even found some texts about a very famous 19th century lace-making industry in Ipswich.  I’m on the search for some designs that can be dated back to the years that Boston’s marshes were filled to create more land for urban dwellers.

lacey edge attached to a square of fabric - antique

Sea Lavender: Limonium Carolinianum

by andisutton

Brief notes on planting environment and care:

Region: Coastal Plain
States: Delaware, Maryland, New York, Virginia
Plant Type: Herbaceous
Height: 0.5 – 2 feet
Spreads: None
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Soil Texture: Clay, Loamy, Sandy
Soil Moisture: Moist, Wet
pH: 6 – 8.5
Salin: 0 – 30
Blooms in: July to October
Bloom Color: lavender
Bears Fruit: None
Evergreen: no
Ground Cover: no
irregularly flooded high salt marsh
Salin: 0 – 30
Wildlife Use: Bees

Key challenge is that sea lavender prefers high salt marsh, therefore roots need to be  in well-drained, sandy soil.  Construction apparatus could create high ground for the lavender, and could be surrounded by cord grass on the lower sections.   It is tolerant of salt, so occasional innundations or waves would be fine.  We may want to include a fresh water irrigation system that collects rainwater and (perhaps) has a drip-line into the sea lavender bed.  Several sites note that it is hard to find in nurseries, and so is often collected from marshes themselves.   But I believe that the nursery in Quincy does sell sea lavender (see earlier notes.)

Sea lavender is one of the East Coast’sbeautiful coastal plants. Its tall, thin stems often have reddish tinge and grow 6 to 24 inches high. Sea lavender has dark green, leathery, spoon-shaped leaves that grow in a circular pattern at the base of its stem. Its branches produce small, fragrant, pale purple flowers along one side. Sea lavender flowers originate from basal leaves that rise up directly from the plant’s roots. The leaves of the Sea lavender grow upward along its stem in sheaths, forming a tubular envelope that surrounds the stem. The sheath causes the flower to appear alternately and delicately arranged.
Life History and Growth
Sea lavender is a flowering plant found in the high salt marsh and generally grows in association with salt hay grass. Sea lavender is a perennial and remains for years once it becomes established. The first sea lavender flowers can be seen in July and flowering continues into August.

Information about salinity levels and plant varieties

Information about limonium


Permaculture Design Principles

by andisutton

Several permaculture design principles here are relevant to our design process.  Of note: “Value the Marginal”; “Catch and Store Energy”; “Design from Pattern to Detail”; “Use Small, Slow Solutions”

the language of war

by studiojane

interesting to note the language of military invasion being used to describe ecological phenomena:

A salt marsh is born by the arrival of a seed or the rafting of a plant of the cord grass Spartina alterniflora. The grass spreads asexually by means of a subterranean rhizome system. The grass becomes dense and forms a baffle, which encourages the deposition of fine particulate sediment, including organic matter (salt marsh peat). This, in effect, causes a rise of the sediment surface and makes the habitat more terrestrial. As this happens, other somewhat less salt-tolerant grasses are able to invade. Eventually, this series of invasions and takeovers leads to a vertical zonation of grasses and a spread of the entire marsh system.

harbor journey research field images

by studiojane

some of the least disturbed marshland of Boston Harbor area

and along quincy beach shoreline

Nutt Island view

and from east boston shore towards Boston skyline

looking at industrial waterfront Chelsea neighborhoods

and finding a bit of salt marsh family at the Condor Street Urban Wild in East Boston