Landscapes and Instruments is a theoretical and technical research project examining the way that instruments make landscapes. The thesis, to put it bluntly, is that a landscape is made up of instruments, and nothing but instruments. Every single thing in a landscape is the object of some other object's intent, and yet it never precisely fulfills this intent, but instead is always both falling short of and exceeding expectations. This holds for everything from retaining walls and horticultural specimen trees to invasive seeds, barb wire fencing, the flight patterns of pollinators, and the movement of water droplets across the ground. This brings to the forefront issues of control, access, precision, and looseness while completely undoing the old binaries of subject/object, object/process, and means/ends and instead focusing on the gap between intent and reality.
Though brewing for some time, these ideas have been developed most thoroughly to date through my recent publication in Landscape Journal entitled "Landscapes and Instruments".
The research for that project brought me in to contact with the work of historians of the American frontier including Herbert Eugene Bolton and philosophers in the tradition of American Pragmatism such as John Dewey, as well as contemporary philosophers Levi Bryant and Graham Harman. I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to their work and have had the good fortune to interview Bryant and Harman both on my old blog faslanyc. More recently I have co-authored a provocation calling for the creation of an integrated landscape science as a normative (not positivistic) field of inquiry which includes design and speculative propositions as a fundamental tenet.
Currently I am working with graduate assistants on using GIS, grasshopper, and UCL Depthmap to model environmental factors (such as water quality effects) and social dynamics of river/city complexes in South America and New York State.