Wired Wilderness

Greenmeme: Freya Bardell, Brent Bucknum, and Brian Howe

Greenmeme: Freya Bardell working with Brent Bucknum

Description of Climate Clock Proposal

A significant inspiration to our team is digital ecologist, Mike Hamilton, the reserve manager at Blue Oaks Ranch Reserve, a 3000-acre UC field station, only minutes outside of San José, that will become the first model of a completely “wired wilderness”. According to Hamilton, “if we had to reduce the regional ecosystem health down to one indicator that will change dramatically over the next 100 years, it will be the oak woodlands.” Oaks are host to one of the more documented bio-indicators, lace lichen. Scientific studies from around the globe have shown lichen diversity, directly correlates with air quality and human health. Beautiful and slow growing, lichen serves a moniker of wisdom of time, an evolving barometer of climatic change, a biological indicator, relevant to San José, but also a model that can be applied universally. As artists, we don’t try to substitute the “senses” and sensors of human experience, but rather frame them, and reduce them to an understandable scale. We can simply set the clock by creating a forum for the true artistic potential of the clock to be made by the timekeepers of natural process, the community and the city. To do this, we propose growing an Oak and Lichen grove in the center of San José and comparing this directly to a similar grove at Blue Oak Reserve. In juxtaposition, the reserves will serve as a “natural sensor” for San José. As they evolve over time, visitors will observe how the groves adapt differently with environmental change. The human experience and memory of this natural process will be the climate clock. While these bio-indicators are the central timepiece for our “climate clock”; we envision the space to be continually evolving, embracing daily environmental and technological changes, through programming and public participation. The monument will be a multi-sensory experience, to be viewed as an art piece, meeting place, a gallery, a site for education, communication and observation.

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Freya Bardell is an ecological designer and artist based in Los Angeles, California. She works with Greenmeme and is a design consultant for Rana Creek, which are innovative, environmentally oriented companies based in California. Her work is part of a growing movement known as Sustainable design that seeks to integrate new technologies and ecological systems to design, architecture and landscaping environments. Bardell has also worked as designer for Osborn Architects, Glendale, CA; a 3-D artist for Mind Browser Productions, Los Angeles; an artist and interactive consultant for Urbana, Los Angeles; and as a superintendent for Hulette Construction.

Ecological Designer, Brent Bucknum, founded the Hyphae Design Laboratory in February 2008, a consulting and design firm dedicated to bridging the gap between innovative architecture and hard biological sciences. From 2005-2008, Bucknum served as the design director at Rana Creek, an ecological restoration and design firm based in Carmel Valley, California. Bucknum’s work included the design of large-scale living roofs, ecological landscapes, rainwater catchment systems, living walls, greywater systems and constructed wetlands. He has worked as an ecological designer for Blaha Design and Greenfield International gaining experience in browfield remediation and natural building. His national and international project’s have enabled him to research indigenous cultures and incorporate appropriate building techniques into designs. Bucknum is also a member/collaborator of Greenmeme, an design firm based in Los Angeles and The Chlorophyll Collective, an environmental education group based in Oakland, California.