Designing the Post Natural - Arts of Noticing - Initial Thoughts

Based on my wanderings around my neighborhood this week, I have narrowed down the possible focuses of this observational assignment to three possible sites. Each one offers a different opportunity for insight, and I am unsure which will provide the richest material for study and thought.

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The first site is a former medical facility that closed down approximately a year ago. There have not been any visible efforts to renovate or reinvigorate the building, and as such the entire front of the building and parking lot have become overgrown and seem to be transforming into a less urban state as multiple plant species take root. This ecosystem would be interesting for me to focus on because I am really compelled by the exploration of the idea of “ruins” and the generally human-centric bias of this concept. Clearly even as this space has been abandoned by humans it has become a haven for other life. This could also be an interesting site to see the abrupt change if within this semester some sort of construction were to begin again here. The main negative of this site is that I don’t currently have access to the lot (it is fenced off) which would make it hard to examine the plant life up close.

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The second location is a wide, “empty” space below the “S” subway train that runs through my neighborhood. This space has clearly served no human purpose for many years and as a result looks like a completely natural meadow with multiple species of plants visible. This site is fascinating to me because this space has become so thoroughly wild and feels like a small slice of the rural midwest implanted in Brooklyn. In a similar way to the first location, it would be interesting to examine how spaces that are considered non-valuable to humans can become so rich in value for other life. I also know that there is some history surrounding the shuttle train which could provide some information as to why this space exists in the first place. Notably, this is unfortunately also a site which I do not have access to beyond my view from the sidewalk.

I was drawn to this final option because while it is not as visually striking, the non-human narrative is very strong. This is a citi-bike location, which is often empty or nearly empty, around the corner from my apartment. It has been placed near a fence, through which a beautiful, flowering tree has pushed its way and begun to overwhelm the citi-bike racks. Being able to get up close to this tree would allow me to get to know it well, and with the narrower focus of this site I could potentially go deeper with my explorations.