landscape – mammoth // building nothing out of something

Category Archives: landscape

Excavations, Shockwaves, and Limits

At the end of September, I spoke at an event organized by The Architectural League and co-sponsored by The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design, “The Five Thousand Pound Life: Land”. The Architectural League has recently posted video from the event, so you can now watch the many presentations and discussions; I particularly recommend Jesse […]

on landscape science

Places Journal (newly independent of Design Observer) recently published an argument by Brian Davis and Thomas Oles that landscape architecture should be renamed landscape science: “Slowly — fitfully — landscape architecture is remaking itself. Its adherents are venturing from the confines of garden, park, and plaza into strange and difficult territory, where they face challenges […]

sea ice small multiples

[Small multiples of the extent of North Pole sea ice, 1979-2014; via NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio.]

landmarks

[Two images from artist Jenny Odell’s series Landmarks, which traces “inadvertent monuments” produced by remote infrastructural operations, such as the Athabasca Oil Sands (top) and a network of “unknown detonation sites” (above) at the Nevada Test Site. The images can be seen in larger and much larger versions on Odell’s website.]

territorial reclamation

[The Spratly Islands] A series of reports from the Philippine government recently emerged and came to the attention of the international press, describing a series of semi-clandestine island-building operations undertaken by the Chinese government in the South China Sea. (To quote a local fishing contractor who works in the vicinity: “there was this huge Chinese […]

mesosphere excavations

[Four recent atmospheric paintings of abstracted anthropogenic geomorphologies by Philip Govedare, whose work was recently featured on Butdoesitfloat. In order from top to bottom, the paintings are: “Melt”, “Excavation #5″, “Mesosphere”, and “Excavation #6″.]

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 […]