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Harvard Forest Science & Art on the Road: Shifting Sites Exhibition

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
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RISD oepning of Shifting Sites Exhibit

Harvard Forest Fellow David Buckley Borden and Harvard Forest Senior Ecologist Aaron Ellison have taken Hemlock Hospice and a study model for a new sculpture, Warming Warning Walk, on the road to the Rhode Island School of Design as part of the group exhibition, Shifting Sites.

Landscape architecture is dependent on observing, analyzing, understanding and reinterpreting sites at a variety of scales and in a plethora of conditions; one could say that a relationship to site is the foremost founding principle within we as landscape architects operate.

Shifting Sites is a group exhibit in the Department of Landscape Architecture of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) that features work from three award-winning practices featured this year in the Landscape Architecture Department lecture series. The exhibit is curated by RISD Assistant Professor Karli Molter, who selected work by Harvard Forest Fellow David Buckley Borden and Harvard Forest Senior Ecologist Aaron Ellison, Lateral Office, and Snøhetta that examines a wide range of site typologies, from natural remote landscapes, to sensitive ecological forests, to dense urban public space and artificially created land. The projects look at different attitudes and approaches to the diverse and complex sites through the lens of artists, designers, writers and engineers. At the core of these projects are four defining questions:

  • How does one look at and frame an understanding of a site?[Artist David Buckley Borden Loading Work for Exhibit]
  • What are the multiple scales at which we approach a site?
  • How can design be used as a tool to reveal an underlying condition, or uncover the layered narratives of a site?
  • How does the design of something new integrate with or interact with the existing site conditions?

All work on the exhibit is dependent on a cross-disciplinary approach to answering these questions. Engineers, scientists, artists, community groups, and both governmental and non-governmental agencies understand site in fundamentally different ways. Often collaborations like these require questioning disciplinary assumptions which can lead to the co-production of new knowledge. These collaborations can also allow for projects to gain a deeper understanding and therefore a more meaningful response to the complex layered social, ecological, and political landscapes that we work with as landscape architects.

Shifting Sites is on view through March 19th in RISD’s Bayard Ewing Building, 231 South Main Street, Providence, Rhode Island.

Shifting Sites Exhibit

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