Community News

Artist Statement

There are several creative and artistic funding opportunities for the Postropolis project with submission requirements including an Artist Statement.  Postropolis founder Dr. Benjamin Erlandson has decided it would be a good idea to publish this Artist Statement on the Postropolis website.  This way, the general public can get a better sense of the overlap between the arts and the sciences within the Postropolis endeavor.

Below is Dr. Erlandson’s statement, in its entirety:

My intent with the Postropolis project is to combine my love, understanding, and appreciation of the complex ecological systems of our natural and built environments with my love for spending periods of varied duration alone in the wilderness, maintaining fitness and wellness through ample movement and meditation. Documenting these experiences via my passions—natural photography, learning systems design, and writing for intellectual and creative expression—is how I intend to spend the rest of my life on this planet.

The contents of the Postropolis: Deep Shifts (P:DS) project include still photography of landscapes as well as natural light macro “portraiture” of waterfalls, lakes, rivers, creeks, and any species found to be interacting with these water sources, starting in the Upper New River Watershed, which encompasses parts of North Carolina and Virginia. In addition, P:DS includes a variety of time-lapse sequences of cloudy skies, rivers, waterfalls, lakes (especially dynamic reflections), and anything else hydrological that can be showcased as a sense of place and source of vitality through the interplay of time, space, and light using time-lapse as a modality. Finally, 1080p and 4K Ultra HD video sequences of natural light macro and shallow focus “edge” scenes (where water, flora, fauna, fungi, and earth interact) will be interspersed as appropriate. On the Postropolis website, these contents are to be tagged and thus searchable according to watershed and various other time- and place-oriented attributes.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the P:DS project is its investigation of the relationship between watersheds and topography, which are true boundaries beyond human instantiation, versus state lines (eg. North Carolina and Virginia) which are human-derived boundaries based on our own system of property rights. Historically, people have congregated around water and as we witness the decline of abundant fossil fuel energy, I believe we as a species will be forced to do so again—perhaps this time around with even more respect for those non-human species with which we must share these water sources.

By using various media modalities to explore the juxtaposition of space, time, and light from both internal and external perspectives of human (and non-human) relationships with water and watersheds, P:DS can create the opportunity for awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the complexities of the world in which we live, including a sense of place. Perhaps more pragmatically, the multimedia contents of P:DS can also be used as fodder for exposing the project across proper channels to increase opportunities for collaboration and collective scalability across other watersheds and continents.

The P:DS project also serves up real-world examples of ecological contextualization of the Postropolis process and framework for complex decisionmaking, as well as contents for the forthcoming book proposal and any number of community presentations to be held in the Upper New River watershed and neighboring communities, such as the Upper Yadkin Pee-Dee watershed.

The P:DS project represents the intersection of my diverse background in the arts, sciences, and education, including two degrees in multimedia arts design and production as well as a Ph.D. in educational technology, combined with nearly thirty years of experience as a wilderness photographer. Having spent countless days and nights engaging with the topography of the mountains and waters that make up our local watersheds, I believe my own personal intersection of internal and external experiences through forty years on this planet serves as a ready model for expressing these intersections in the P:DS project.

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