SUCCESSION: A VISUAL SCORE
In collaboration with composer Shari Feldman
Cello by Julia Marks
Cedar Point Biological Station of the University of Lincoln, Nebraska, Ogallala NE, 2019
Dye made from locally-sourced cedar and Lake Ogallala water with graphite on paper, with digital overlay of 2 minutes of MIDI biodata recorded from an eastern red cedar (red) and mixed prairie grasses directly below its canopy (blue). 3’ x 4’.
Because of increased human settlement and resulting changes in fire regimes, eastern red cedar (though native) is increasingly outcompeting mixed prairie grasses in the Ogallala, NE area. The tree is a pioneer species indicative of the beginning of forest succession. This shift from grassland to forest poses a particular problem for species such as the Sand Hill crane, since the Big Bend area of the Platte River (near Ogallala) is a pinch point in its migration path. Succession depicts a series of mixed prairie grasses found on site at Cedar Point Biological Station within the shape of one large cedar. Tension between figure and ground is meant to evoke the tensions between these two groups of plants in the ecosystem. I recorded two minutes of MIDI biodata of prairie grass (shown in the blue digital overlay) and red cedar (shown in red) from the same location, using a galvanometer sensor. The biodata is then sonified with a multi-track cello recording. Perhaps by examining the tensions resulting from the changing structures of plant ecologies, we may become better equipped to navigate tensions in our own societies.