Field Station Concordia takes the form of a field station created from reclaimed materials in the dimensions of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden. Created as a platform for the gathering of data about the local ecology in the form of observations, handmade and virtual representations, and texts and maps that challenge and reimagine the separation of human and natural agency. Activities include: data collection, community gatherings, citizen science, handmade and digital explorations of plant and animal life, and questions about the vibrancy of matter and our role in the stresses and resiliences of ecosystems. The project seeks to activate individuals to engage in participatory ecology in a desire to activate our connection to this vague thing we have called “nature” with political, social and economic meaning and weight. The project uses embodied engaged observation to map a civic engagement with our backyards as part of the larger ecosystem of towns, industries, politics, and economies.
We can consider the field station as a sensorium for a fully porous perception of the landscape triangulating from the DeCordova through Concord to on the one end Great Meadows (an Important Birding Area, National Wildlife refuge, and naturalists haven) and on the other end at 2229 Main Street in Concord, Nuclear Metals Superfund site (which got its start in 1942 as part of the Manhattan project). The project is guided by the radical environmentalism of Thoreau, who saw himself politically, spiritually, economically, and socially as one active agent in a community of active agents. Thoreau’s lifetime of observations in the form of the Kalendar (as he called it, a seasonally organized collection of his observations of weather, plant phonological phases, birds, mushrooms, lichen, etc.), journal and published reflections, and surveying (as a constant walker of the land and as a paid surveyor) will echo in the project in the form of collections of observations (photographs, maps), texts (lists, a field guide, and edited dialogs), and mobile architecture (the reimagined cabin field station).