sylvia pendl

Old Brooke Rd. Old Field: An Incomplete Field Guide and Self-Guided Tour. Thoughts from artist Sylvia Pendl

fieldwork, sylvia pendl, spring 2012
fieldwork, sylvia pendl, spring 2012

Images above: S. Pendl.  Studies for Old Brooke Rd. Old Field: The Incomplete Field Guide and Self-Guided Tour. (2012)

The ways in which undefined wild places and landscapes are perceived, and named, informs how they are valued. Landscapes that appear to be undifferentiated: an old agricultural field, a woodland, a lakeside, a pond, are now romantically valued. Sometimes people gaze at them as they pass by on their way elsewhere, to a place where there is something to do, something going on. Yet all of these fields, forests and water bodies are precise arrangements of plants, animals and relationships, teeming with activity, albeit in a quiet way.
However, these natural phenomena are not discreet, fragmented items. These seemingly individual wonders: a shrike employing a hawthorn’s thorn to impale its prey, as an example, are inter-related and have connections that reach far beyond the place they may be found in, while at the same time they are also very much of their location.
I fear that literacy in the natural world is disappearing. Although western science has allowed for fragmented insights into the physiological aspects of the natural world, this perception of “objective” seeing and investigation has neglected other ways of seeing. This method of deconstruction and categorization does not acknowledge that all the individual entities are part of a larger schema. The inter-relationships and connections remain invisible.
Knowledge disappears quickly. I am already forgetting some of the things my father told me about the forest when I was young. The knowing of these things needs to be practiced regularly so that I don’t forget. What will future generations know about the world outside if they no longer have any context or thread to learn from?

- Sylvia Pendl

Old Brooke Road Old Field: An Incomplete Field Guide & Self-guided Tour

fieldwork, sylvia pendl, old brooke road old field: an incomplete field guide
fieldwork, sylvia pendl, old brooke road old field: an incomplete field guide

 

How we perceive our places and landscape, including place names, informs how we perceive ourselves as a culture and what we value. What appears to be an undifferentiated old agricultural field, sitting quietly on Old Brooke Road in Maberley, Ontario, is a precise arrangement of named plants, animals and relationships. The self-guided Field Tour  (via interpretive nesting boxes) will guide visitors to corresponding experiences about the inter-relatedness and importance of this field to the world beyond the field. The Old Brooke Field becomes activated through this intervention by being a centre point that radiates out to the larger region, not a boundary but to other centers and connections, coming back and going out again. 

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