open studio: electronic sculpture garden / by kelly heaton

One my early studies for a sculpture garden that blends nature, electronics and people.  Kelly Heaton, November 2015

As usual, I am working on several projects in parallel.  My mind refuses to stay contained within a discipline or focused on a single task for more than a few days (or a few hours)... so I no longer try.  Anyway, it seems that everyone is becoming "attention multiplexed." 

As we enter into the Anthropocene, the era in which human activity shapes the geologic history of Earth, the distinction between nature and technology is increasingly blurry.  Nature has an ecology, electronics have an architecture, and both are systems for the distribution of energy.  The merging of living systems fascinates me.  

One of my new projects is to design a grand garden that is modeled after a circuit board, to weave landscape architecture and electrical engineering into a functional, natural circuit.  The sculptures in the garden will be human-scale electronic devices, enabling visitors to "meet" technology face-to-face, and to walk the pathways within the circuit.  Some elements of the garden will be formal, recalling classic electrical engineering on the tidy green "lawn" of a printed circuit board.  Wilder areas of the garden will play with nature and technology as (a)live, interconnected, and dissolving into one and other over time.  I love the idea of trees building a subterranean circuit with their roots; soil churning with chemical, fungal and animal messengers; vines growing over electronics like unruly wires; cisterns that collect water from the sky, feeding channels and powering kinetic mobiles; and shrines that worship Gods of Power, be it natural or manmade.