Tilde residency ~ day 3

View from my studio.

Today I’m writing throughout the day, then I’ll post before I leave.

Fennel, iris, dandelion, nasturtium, nectarine, grasses, +++ …

11:30am: Things I need to figure out to make the botanic map-score concept work:

Accuracy – so I’m often a perfectionist and with science-type stuff like mapping vegetation I want it to be exactly accurate. But there is such a lot of vegetation here – not just high species diversity, but also the individual plants. And many of the plants in the ground are all intertwined and overlapping, like plants do. And many of the plants in pots can be moved anywhere onsite and will probably be somewhere different for the performance in January so even if I get all the beds right, my map-score will still be INACCURATE! I need to figure out if I want to reflect a temporal snap-shot, or if I partly incorporate the move-ability of the pots into the score.

Creating the score – ok so once I figure out how to do the above … I can totally make a detailed site map with “spp 1”, “spp 2”, and the shapes of the individual plants, overlapping and all. BUT then how do I convert this into a thing musicians can read? I’m not thinking of it being an interpretable graphic score as such. What I want is to assign a strict musical note or gesture to each plant species. But the diversity is so high I can’t possible ask a performer to remember what 60+ numbers are, and to cross-reference a map key during performance is totally impractical. So I have to then put these notes and gestures directly onto my map score. And how will I do that????!

Reading the score – this isn’t such an immediate concern, but after I’ve figured out how to create the score in a useful and readable way, I need to figure out how musicians can read it. It’s not linear: the site is a big triangle. Will they read as though walking through the site? Around the perimeter is easy enough, but how about the little discrete beds and all the individual pots within the site? Grid it up (it’s already pretty griddy) and give them an order of grid squares to play? Let them decide?

2pm: Here’s a film of my residency studio door and one little bit of Testing Grounds’ garden. The hissing sound is a sprinkler on the garden. This is just to give you an idea of the profusion of green that I’m trying to figure out how to map.

I started working on the mapping.

Really excited to learn that there’s another science-art mash-up practitioner onsite. She’s called Andrea Rassell, she’s absolutely lovely, and the work she’s doing is really cool! Here’s her website. She has an opening here on Friday night 23rd Nov 6-9pm. I immediately want to sit down and have chats about what we could collaborate on … but I have plants to map!

I’m excited about this idea and chatting with a site staff member got me more excited: most of the trees are rescues and re-placings from rejections elsewhere. And most of the plants are cuttings, borrowings, sharings, chances and possibilities. He’s also contacted the person who did most of the plantings who is going to get me a species list and his mappish things. There’s names and histories to all these plantings. The histories are temporally brief, but huge in heart. I like this a lot.

I’ve used the grid on the provided site-map to create another map with grid squares divided, labelled, ground-truthed and updated. Now I can see how many grid squares have vegetation in them and use the squares to map the veg detail one part at a time. It was really fun and mapping it all seems way more do-able now.

That’s it for today. I like writing as I go, it helped me think and I had a really productive day. More tomorrow!


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