Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Honoring Muir- Done Correctly?

Through researching an upcoming trip to Scotland I came across a interesting hike. The John Muir Way is 73km of constructed pathways. What surprised me is how we're honoring Muir's memory. While a walk across Scotland's countryside is beautiful I'm sure, I am not certain how Muir would feel about paved trails being constructed through the area. It seems ironic that to commemorate a conservationist who felt nature should be left alone we put up footpaths and pave roads to enjoy the aesthetics. It would seem more fitting to prevent interference rather than create it.

Check out Google today!

Audobon's 226th birthday today! http://www.google.com/search?q=John+James+Audubon&ct=audubon11-hp&oi=ddle

Monday, April 25, 2011

Does Beauty Exist?

So sitting in lecture today, during the beauty part of it, I recalled this poem I had once read by Charles Bukowski, called "I Met A Genius," and was able to track it down. It's got a bit of a dark feel to it, but was pretty applicable nonetheless; it really makes you think. I've also added the link to a forum it was posted on; some of the comments go a bit into what we talked about.
I met a genius on the train
about 6 years old,
as he sat beside me
and as the train
ran down along the coast
we came to the ocean
and then he looked at me
and said,
it's not pretty.
it was the first time I'd

Redwoods Article

I stumbled upon this interesting article about the Redwoods in California. It is rather lengthy but an interesting read. The article talks about some of the biological traits that make the Redwoods unique such as their regenerative ability if a branch breaks off and their ability to sit dormant until a larger tree above dies. In addition, the article discusses some of the environmental controversies surrounding the forest. It mentions the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 and subsequent need for lumber as well as illegal harvesting in more recent years. This article does a nice job summarizing many of the issues we discussed in class a few weeks ago.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

'Save the Seals' Ad Campaign by PETA

I was looking for some more info about the campaign against clubbing seals, as well as any "save the songbird" campaigns, and this is what I came up with. It seems like a ton of celebrities are behind PETA's "save the seals" campaign ... Here's a link to the PETA website ...


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Deer Reduction Plan in Cayuga Heights

For all those in the Friday section take a look at this article that was in today's Daily Sun. It has to do with the deer reduction plan in Cayuga Heights that we talked about in section about a month ago. The Cayuga Heights Board of Trustees recently approved it. Very controversial!!

Ke$ha Against the Canadian Club Scene

PETAs latest campaign against clubbing baby seals. I really have nothing to say besides that this is an awesome advertisement because it is effective, incorporates pop culture, is funny, and has the token image of the cute baby seal.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The art of conservation

I just read an interesting piece that analyzes the logos of conservation NGOs over time (can be found here).

"So what should we make of a journey that began with literal, fine-art creations and has reached abstract images that make only a passing reference to nature? The answer, like the logos we're left with, is pretty simple. Conservation is no longer just about a single species on the brink of extinction, the habitat it's found in or some wider ecosystem. Now it's about the future of the planet. That, of course, means it's really all about us."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Niagara Falls: the tourist trap

After living in New York for 2 years, I finally visited Niagara Falls. It was beautiful and very much the wonder that it is known as. I was expecting the skyscrapers and urban-like landscape. What I didn't expect was the mass of giant touristy stores and over-the-top attractions. It seems as through the entrepreneurs expect people to get bored with the natural landscape and go for more material goods. Glancing at the tourists around me, I believe that those entrepreneurs were on to something. Natural beauty just isn't enough for most folks. It was a mix of nature and culture. And not in a good way.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I "club" you!

During today's lecture a picture my sister showed me a few months ago popped into my head. I'm not sure of it's origins but I'm sure it was created by activists using humor along with humanlike expressions to evoke emotions. I also found another variation.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Redwood in Fall Creek

I couldn't find the exact location of the redwood in Fall Creek that was mentioned in lecture today, but there are pictures of it at the link below. Its right in someone's front yard and very close to their house! Interestingly, I feel like many of us have driven past it multiple times but never even noticed its existence... How could we miss such a commanding sight? http://www.giant-sequoia.com/gallery/usa/new-york/


my girlfriend's doing a landscape photography project and found this site:
it's all desktop wallpapers based on niagara falls and other falls in upstate new york; i though it was a cool complement to the post comparing a photo to "wanderer above a sea of fog."
the one on the far right, top row looks almost identical to the Church painting of Niagara falls; it even captures the green hue of the water-another good example on artwork's influence in photography

Thursday, April 14, 2011

National Association for Olmsted Parks

I found this really cool website all about Olmsted, his landscape architecture firm, and all his projects. It's really interesting - check it out! Here's the link ...


Throw Back

I was going through some of my pictures the other day when I found this one. It reminded me of Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Friedrich (which I posted for those who forgot which painting this is). There are striking similarities between my photo and this painting...puny human with back turned, gazing out at the mountainous landscape, reveling in the awesomeness of nature...(ok- you get the point. I'll stop). This picture really serves to reinforce how painters in the 1800s (especially Hudson River School painters) influenced modern photography.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

American Memory Collections at the LOC

I have mentioned the American Memory Collections at the Library of Congress several times, thought I would provide the links here so that you can do some exploring. In particular, the five different collections under "Environment and Conservation" may be helpful to some of you working on your term papers.

Each collection has a separate overview of what can be accessed; here is the description for "The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920":
The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920 documents the historical formation and cultural foundations of the movement to conserve and protect America's natural heritage, through books, pamphlets, government documents, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and motion picture footage drawn from the collections of the Library of Congress.
The collection consists of 62 books and pamphlets, 140 Federal statutes and Congressional resolutions, 34 additional legislative documents, excerpts from the Congressional Globe and the Congressional Record, 360 Presidential proclamations, 170 prints and photographs, 2 historic manuscripts, and 2 motion pictures.
Lots of fun stuff to look at over the various collections. I know one of you is working on a paper about Woody Guthrie: his correspondence has been digitized and is available on the site at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/wwghtml/wwghome.html .

American Environmental Photographs Collection, [AEP Image Number AEP-CAS207],
Department of Special Collections, University of Chicago Library.

From "American Environmental Photographs, 1891-1936" :
"This collection consists of approximately 4,500 photographs documenting natural environments, ecologies, and plant communities in the United States at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. Produced between 1891 and 1936 by a group of American botanists generally regarded as one of the most influential in the development of modern ecological studies, these photographs provide an overview of important representative natural landscapes across the nation. They demonstrate the character of a wide range of American topography, its forestation, aridity, shifting coastal dune complexes, and watercourses. Comparison of early photographs with later views highlights changes resulting from natural alterations of the landscape, disturbances from industry and development, and effective natural resource usage. The photographs were taken by Henry Chandler Cowles (1869-1939), George Damon Fuller (1869-1961), and other Chicago ecologists on field trips across the North American continent.
"Among the natural features these images document are ecological settings such as dunes, bogs, forests, and deserts; individual plants from the Ponderosa pine and birch to grasses and mosses; landscape features like the Grand Canyon, Lake Superior, and the Sierra Nevada; and the consequences of natural and human changes to the environment ranging from erosion and floods to irrigation and lumbering. The collection also includes photographs of University of Chicago botanists as they conducted field research, led students on summer field classes, and traveled across the North American continent on tours including the International Phytogeographic Excursion of 1913."
Hope this is helpful to some of you.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Webcam at an eagles nest

This is a must see for all! It's amazing how technology has allowed us to witness this.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Early moving images technology

You can see the phenakistoscope DEMONSTRATED (that's the word I was looking for in this morning's lecture!) on YouTube in many different videos. Here's one that gives you an idea of what the device accomplishes. Enjoy.

More info about Muybridge and how he studied horse locomotion is available at this link: http://www.horselocomotion.com/horse_motion_capture_data_faq.html . WARNING: nudity. Not for the faint of heart.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Universal Sigh: Radiohead's Fusion of Nature and Culture

On March 28th and 29th, English rock giants Radiohead gave away free copies of a self published newspaper entitled The Universal Sigh in a number of major cities as a promotion for their most recent studio album, The King of Limbs released on February 18. The paper is comprised of a number of abstract drawings, poems, vignettes, and non fiction pieces by authors Robert MacFarlane (The Wild Places) , Jay Griffiths (Wild: an Elemental Journey), and a longer fiction-art piece by artist-cum-Radiohead collaborator Stanley Donwood. All of the content of the paper delves either explicitly or implicitly into the topic of nature and humankind's relationship with it; MacFarlane's piece explores the aesthetics and recreation of tree climbing, while Griffiths' article chronicles the author's recovery from depression by journeying to the Amazon and rediscovering the wild spirit that he believes all humans possess and crave to let out through connection with nature. Donwood's Piece is a chilling global climate change allegory. The general takeaway message of The Universal Sigh seems to be that humankind is a part of the natural world, however destructive the former is of the latter. Furthermore, Radiohead seems to be advancing the idea that post modern life cuts us off from nature, the consequence of which is gradual spiritual atrophy. Heavy, compelling stuff.

View the PDF of The Universal Sigh here

Hudson River School

I was reading the NY Times this morning when I stumbled across this article. Two paintings by a HRS artist, Jasper F. Cropsey, were brought in for appraisal after the original owner died. Her son had no idea what the two paintings were worth anything until he was told so by appraiser. It was kept in the basement rec room for as long as he could remember.

My favorite part of the article was the shoutout given to the "obligatory puny humans" Cropsey painted. Unfortunately, the mention was because the art historian of the Newington-Cropsey Foundation did not like how they were drawn.

Beauty and the Beast

I know we discussed beauty and the beast awhile ago, along with the hunter becoming the hunted, but I recently saw this trailer for a remake. Its interesting that this movie seems aimed at an older audience.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Surrealist photographs

Check out this NPR piece on Robert ParkeHarrison's photography:

"The mythic photos depict an "everyday" man interacting with, or trying to bandage up, a broken piece of the Earth. But his tools are never suited for the task before him. Shana says their work doesn't offer a solution to environmental problems — "We are not scientists, we're artists," she says — but she hopes their work will allow viewers to think more critically about humans' relationship to technology and nature, and "inspire change, one viewer at a time." "

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Annie Edson Taylor's Cat

There was a question that came up in class about what the cat on Annie Edson Taylor's barrel had to do with her trip over the falls. According to a few sources, she placed the cat in her barrel to test the safety of the plunge and the cat survived. Others say the cat was used as a tester and also went over the falls with Taylor. http://www.legacy.com/ns/news-story.aspx?t=annie-edson-taylor-heroine-of-niagara-falls&id=138 http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/survival/wilderness/niagara5.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Edson_Taylor

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Stunters and Daredevils

There are numerous online digital collections available about Niagara Falls (and other) stunters and daredevils.  The Niagara Falls Ontario library collection is rich in photos,  http://www.nflibrary.ca/ForAdults/LocalHistoryMaterials/StuntersDaredevils/tabid/135/Default.aspx , while the "Niagara Frontier" site includes a bit more in the way of detailed history: http://www.niagarafrontier.com/devil_frame.html .

Great topic if anyone is interested. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Washed Up

Hey, I wanted to post my friend Alejandro Durán's project WASHED UP, which is a meditation on nature and culture. Below is his description of the project from his site:

With the Caribbean shores of the Yucatán peninsula as my studio, and the plastic garbage carried there by ocean currents from all parts of the globe as my material, WASHED UP is my attempt to turn trash into treasure.
After my initial disgust at the sheer quantity of garbage littering the beaches of Sian Ka’an, Mexico’s first federally protected biosphere, I wondered what I could do with these materials and how I could alchemize this ugliness. I collected bags and bags of trash that had floated in from thirty-nine nations on five continents, which I then transformed into site-specific sculptures.
Working in response to the landscape and within a highly defined color palette, I sought to create arrangements that look simultaneously natural and artificial. While inspired by the work of Andy Goldsworthy and Robert Smithson, WASHED UP is intended as something new that speaks to our time and its vast quantity of discarded materials.