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TheArtists’ Statementssection o f Leonardo is intended to be a rapid publicationforum. Texts can be up to 750 words in length with no illustrations, or up to 500 words in h g t h with one black-and-whiteillustration. Artists’ Statementsare acceptedforpublication upon recommendationo f any one member o f theLeonardo Editorial Board, who will thenforward them to theMainEditorial Officewith his or her endorsement. TEACHING NATURE HOW T O BECOME NATURE: THE WOODLAiVDRECOVERY PROJECT Tony Bellaver, 505 Laguna Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, U.S.A. Received 26 March 1997. Accepted by Steve Wilson. Since the Industrial Revolution, humankind has used technology to match the power feared in nature. Technology is an attempt to become nature’s equal. Once living in harmony with the environment , we now actively manipulate it in the name of progress. Technological uses today are mechanisms that contribute to ecological degradation; we have become adversaries to many ecosystems. Even when we set aside certain areas to be saved as natural resources, those resources only become commodities for Western culture. This treatment of nature can be likened to keeping specimens in ajar, except that thisjar has invisible boundaries: “nature”becomes a victim of its own history, a true tragedy , a slow-dying half-truth of what it once was. These ideas inspired me to create the WoodlandRecovery Project. For this project, I began to develop inventions/ sculptures that would “teach”common California trees, grown indoors,what they will become when replanted outdoors . The objective of this project is to illustrate the extent of humankind’s dependency on and deployment of technology to control nature. In pursuing this project, I challenge people to investigate ideas that integrate technology with nature in a more Fig. 1. Tony Bellaver, WoodlandRecovery Project, 1994-present. OcularBotanicActuator (OBAC)unit, fabricated metal, electrical hardwareand sound equipment,living tree specimens (coast live oak seedlings), 1996. (Photo:Mr. Victor.)The compact OBAC unit plays spoken stories through speakersand usesvideo imageryand artificial lighting to preparetree seedlings and recentlygerminatedseeds for their future lives outdoors. progressive way, questioning the necessity of technology in different aspects of life. This critique will expose the seriousness of humankind’s impulse to control nature, while uncovering our absurd reliance on technology. I constructed four invention prototypes from a variety of found materials with fabricated additions of steel and Plexiglas. The project’s Reconstruction Modules , which I built in 1994 and upgraded in 1996, are used for the reconstruction of seeds. Involved in an important step before the germination process, these modules mimic a womb where, protected from direct ultraviolet (W)light, seed specimens are nurtured by audio tape recordings of storytelling, environmentalsounds and information about where the seed specimens were collected so they will acclimatize once they are planted. (Fig. 1)is similar to the Auditory Botanic Resonator Module (ABRM) unit (Fig. 2), but it is more compact and utilized only from the time of germination through the second year of seedThe Ocular Botanic Actuator (OBAC) Fig. 2. Tony Bellaver, WoodlandRecovery Project, 1994-present. AuditoryBotanicResonator Module (ABRM) unit, fabricatedmetal, electrical hardware and sound equipment, livingtree specimens (coastredwood seedlings), 1996. (Photo:Mr. Victor.)The ABRM unitplays recordingsof environmentalsoundsand storytellingto teach seedling treeswhat they will become when olanted in nature.The environmentalsoundsare originalrecordinm by the artist. Q 1998ISAST LEONARDO, Vol. 31, No.1, pp. 35-39.1998 35 ling indoctrination. The ABRM plays a variety of taped audio field recordings through two speakers, allowing the seedlings to experience the sounds of their future home. The Ocular Projected Auditory Constructor (OPAC) allows the seedlings to visualize their future environment through images projected on ground glass (Fig. 3). The images are displayed while stories interpreting the specimens ' past and forecasting their lives in the wild are played on the audio system. storytelling to teach young trees what they will become when planted in nature . The stories used are developed from technical field guides for specific tree species. During the first experiment with these prototypes, I concluded that a modus operandi was needed for the project's procedures; I therefore divided the project into six phases of tree teaching. The hypothetical phases represent a unique cycle of growth from seed to sapling. During each phase [11, stimuli differ...


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