Observationhouse is a proposition – it asks us to consider how our built spaces (homes, offices, schools) create or enforce certain habits and relationships and influence our encounters with ecology and the surrounding environment.
The shape of the structure is borrowed from a shed built in the early 20th century by Alexander Graham Bell for his research station in Nova Scotia, Canada. Bell made use of his “tetrahedral structure” as a base for environmental sensing experiments and observation in the field. Here, observationhouse is: a field studio, workshop and visual anchor for my year-long residency; a site for artistic work that dovetails with the Brandywine Conservancy’s environmental stewardship activities (particularly source water protection); and a platform for experimentation with a range of environmental sensing technologies, including a water monitoring device built and installed in the River beside the house in collaboration with Shannon Hicks, a researcher at Stroud Water Research Center. Data readings from this device can be viewed at: http://tinyurl.com/gpwaxtb
To build the observationhouse, I collaborated with a New York City-based wood mill, Tri-Lox, to reclaim cedar and fir from a New York City water tower and worked with museum staff to plan the site of the installation. We constructed the house on the banks of the Brandywine River, but over the next year the structure will move to other Conservancy land sites. Field recordings are played on the half hour and the hour within the house along with snippets of interviews with Conservancy staff.
Created and exhibited as a module of highwatermarks, a year long residency at the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadd’s Ford, PA.