An acre: historically defined as the area of land a pair of oxen could plow in a day. A measurement of space and time. A measurement of technology. A measurement of non-human strength. A measurement of cultivation.
This summer I’ve been selected for three artist residencies, during which (or rather afterwards) I will produce a series of cartographic diagrams that explore place through space, time, and experience. The residencies will begin in Isle Royale, the national park in at the northernmost corner of Michigan, followed by a residency with the US Forest Service in the Alexander Archipelago off of southeast Alaska, followed by three weeks at the Flathead Lake Bio Station with Montana Open AIR.
One thought I’ve had for organizing the work is to create an Atlas of Measurement: using the constructs of different measuring units to bring together seemingly disparate topics. For instance a fathom in regards to Isle Royale had multiple meanings. For ships navigating the reefs around Isle Royale, the fathom as a unit of water depth became the lens through which sailors experienced the island. For copper miners excavating mine shafts on the island, the fathom became a unit of payment ($20/fathom), as they dug deep into the earth looking for copper veins. While this is a decidedly human lens, can it be co-opted to tell the non-human story as well?