Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sound Mapping the Morton Arboretum

Sound Map of the Morton Arboretum
Another day, another chance to work on my iSites - I still have a few more to do before my next Biomimicry trip in 3 weeks, so I am using every opportunity to finish them that I can find.

Today is Easter.  We are not religious, but my two little kids like the idea of the Easter Bunny, so after hunting eggs in the back yard we went to the Morton Arboretum to welcome spring the way we feel most comfortable - by being outside.  For this iSite, I did a sound map.  By closing my eyes, I made a map of every sound I heard.  I was also supposed to see if any of the sounds were related or responsive to one another.

Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Cantilevered Tree

Cantilevered Tree at the Naperville Riverwalk
For today's iSite, I was to test my skills of observation by drawing an object and then trying to draw it again without looking.

Walking along the Riverwalk in my town, I came across a tree that has grown horizontally off the riverbank. It's roots have grown horizontally and are strong enough to cantilever the tree 30' over the riverbank. The tree is truly an amazing feat of natural engineering. It will fall eventually, but so will everything. For now, it has found a way to survive and stand out from the rest of the trees - gaining access to solar resources that others cannot reach. Life will find a way.

As for my skills of observation, I spent a lot of time observing the tree. The roots that hold it up are buried under the ground, but I would have loved to see how deep they reach and how far they extend. Moss was growing on the underside of the tree to the east - not surprising considering it was only a few feet above the water and a river that often floods. This tree has spent a bit of time underwater and it still survives.

Drawing by looking at the tree, but not the paper, was pretty difficult. I felt like I should have picked a simpler object for this exercise, but the outline of the second drawing was not much different than the first. Which was kind of cool.