landscape – mammoth // building nothing out of something

Category Archives: landscape

land-making machines

[The Audubon Society's micro-dredger, the John James, making new land in the Paul J. Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary in South Louisiana. Karen Westphal, Audubon’s Atchafalaya Basin program manager, will be speaking about this participatory micro-dredging project at DredgeFest Louisiana's symposium, which is this Saturday and Sunday at Loyola University in New Orleans.] Tim Maly and I […]

the collision of geologic time and infrastructural control

“Before artificial levee construction, the river avulsed and a new delta was constructed every 1,000-1,500 yr: the active Plaquemines-Balize Delta began to form about 1,000 yr ago, and was for some time contemporaneous with the older Lafourche Delta, whereas diversion to the Atchafalaya River course began about 500 yr ago, but is now managed by the US Army Corps […]

dredgefest louisiana

Things have been terribly quiet here at mammoth this fall. (Assuming that by “here” we mean “here, on the blog”; they’ve been quite busy if by “here” we mean “here in Ohio and Virginia”, which is where I’ve physically been. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to recap those adventures soon — there’s been quite a […]

signs and obscure marks

[Lake Guntersville, Alabama's largest lake, which was created with the construction of the Guntersville Dam by the TVA in the late 1930's.] At Places, Shannon Mattern reviews various practices which she collectively terms “infrastructural literacy” projects, including “touring, collecting, and documenting infrastructure” (the Los Angeles Urban Rangers, for instance), “sensing infrastructure” (Nick Sowers’ Soundscrapers), and […]

elephant butte reservoir

[Elephant Butte Reservoir, New Mexico's largest reservoir, which supplies water to "about 90,000 acres of farmland and nearly half the population of El Paso"; the GIF above (by mammoth) combines NASA Earth Observatory satellite imagery from 1994 and 2013 to show the depletion caused by repeated droughts since 2000. Now off to start tumblrs of […]

sediment trap and release

[The annual sediment release procedure at Xiaolangdi Dam on the Yellow River in Henan province, China. According to the Daily Mail, "this annual operation sees more than 30 million tonnes of silt sent downstream a year, with more than 390 million tonnes shifted this way over the last 13 years". It is noteworthy, from the perspective […]

excess seaweed

[Top: Seaweed farming rafts off the coast of the Chinese province of Jiangsu, south of the city of Qingdao, via Bing Maps. Middle: enormous mats of algae floating off the coast of Qingdao, as photographed on June 29th by NASA's Terra satellite. The Los Angeles Times states that this is sixth year that the algae has proliferated […]

very bad futurists

[Detail from a drawing by Lydia Gikas, for my Spring 2013 Houston Ship Channel studio] The Studio-X blog links a recent article in Nautilus on the incorporation of scenario planning techniques (drawn from the work of futurists) into urban ecological research, by Marina Alberti‘s urban ecology research group at the University of Washington: Alberti introduced me […]

the geopolitics of subtraction

[Map of the IIRSA's Amazonian axis, connecting the Pacific to the Atlantic across the Andes; from IIRSA document "8 Ejes de Integración de la Infraestructura de América del Sur"] Keller Easterling, speculating about “a new counterintuitive economic model” of “infrastructural subtraction” in Domus last November: “What are the points of leverage, trip distances or economies […]

making the geologic now

[Jinanqiao Dam under construction on the Jinsha River. New "mega-dams" such as Jinanqiao in high seismic risk zones -- territories prone to earthquakes, in other words -- are at the center of a highly consequential scientific debate about whether the dams are making disasters like catastrophic 2008 Wenchuan earthquake more likely and frequent. Fascinatingly, the argument is […]

longshore transport and littoral drift

[Dauphin Island, Alabama, at the south opening of Mobile Bay.] Continuing the theme of Sandy-inspired rumination on the risks and rewards of littoral urbanization, a pair of articles by Justin Gillis and Felicity Barringer at the New York Times utilize the example of Alabama’s Dauphin Island — a hurricane-battered barrier island near the port of […]

ivanpah

[At Wired, a gallery of photographs of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, by Jamey Stillings. At completion, the Ivanpah facility is expected to be the largest operational solar power facility in the world.]

response survey

[A lost cargo container located by the NOAA ship Thomas Jefferson (below, in operation post-Sandy) on the bottom of the New York harbor.] After Sandy, ports along the east coast path of the hurricane were closed, including the Port of Virginia in Hampton Roads and, of course, the Port of New York and New Jersey, in large […]

dredgefest nyc: video archive

[Audience discussion during DredgeFest; photo by Nicola Twilley.] One of the primary reasons that mammoth has been relatively quiet this year is the effort that Stephen and I, as two of the four current members of the Dredge Research Collaborative, have put into organizing DredgeFest NYC.  We did this with no small amount of assistance from […]

event horizon

[A seaplane taxis in Jamaica Bay, 1918, with Barren Island in the background; source.] I recently contributed a short piece to the excellent Fulcrum. The piece begins with a very short version of the bizarre history of Dead Horse Bay and Barren Island — about which I had to leave out eccentric anecdote after eccentric […]

petrochemical america

[From the top: diagram by SCAPE of off-shore oil facilities in the Gulf; Richard Misrach's "Roadside Vegetation and Orion Refining Corporation, Good Hope, Louisiana, 1998" ; diagram by SCAPE of the various chemical products manufactured and refined in "Cancer Alley". All from Petrochemical America, and visible at a higher resolution in this gallery at the New […]

dredgefest nyc

[Beach nourishment in Monmouth, New Jersey. Photo: USACE.] A few months ago, I posted the live interview that the Dredge Research Collaborative (Stephen, Brett Milligan, Tim Maly, and myself) did with Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley at Studio-X NYC. Both at that event and in the short post I did, we promised that we’d be […]

the commonwealth approach

[The following is the text and (a slightly condensed set of) slides from the presentation that Laurel McSherry and I gave at the Drylands Design Conference in late March. The presentation walks through our highly speculative proposal for the reconfiguration of the political geography of the United States to better conform to the spatial distribution […]

collisions

[Via Pete Brook at Wired, Mary Lydecker's collages splice together scenes from vintage postcards to create images of Pruned-worthy vacation locales (like the infrastructural beach above) and bundles of skyscrapers improbably close to dams, mountains, and rivers, as if the cities they belonged to were crashing suddenly into some unorthodox planner's feverishly strict urban growth […]

landscape ontology

[A landscape in the process of becoming a different landscape: In late 2010, the waste reservoir of a Hungarian aluminum oxide plant burst, releasing millions and millions of gallons of caustic red sludge. The meter-high toxic mudslide quickly moved downhill through two nearby villages, burying buildings, poisoning fields and killing 10 people. The image above […]