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. It presents a framing through which a specific environment can be observed in closer detail, revealing many complex layers that influence our conception of “landscape” or of “nature.”
Observationhouse was built in a floodplain, and is capable of flotation.
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 through a collaboration with Shannon Hicks, engineer at Stroud Water Research Center. Stroud continues to monitor river data, viewable here: http://tinyurl.com/gpwaxtb
To build the observationhouse, I collaborated with Tri-Lox, to reclaim white cedar and fir from a New York City water tower.
Field recordings are played on the half hour and the hour within the structure, mixed with live sound from the river.
Created and exhibited as a module of highwatermarks, a year long residency at the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadd’s Ford, PA.