Documentation in the Field: A Day at Discovery Park with Summer Field Studies

credit: workshop participants

On June 28, Portland-based artists Lisa Schonberg and Daniela Molnar led a multimedia documentation workshop at Discovery Park in conjunction with our Summer Field Studies project . Their goal was to enable participants to discover variable forms of observation and documentation, from drawing and note taking to field recording and music composition. Here is their report on the day:

We met at the visitor center on the east edge of Discovery Park. A persistent drizzle fell as we laid out a game plan. We divided into groups; each group would focus on a one square meter or one square foot plot. Each group received a set of prompts, a tape measure, and survey flags in order to mark a plot for study. The prompts were meant as a starting point for inquiry. For example, “Observe movement in and out of your plot. Document any inputs or outputs. Water, wind, flying organisms, walking organisms, etc.” or “Focus in on human presence or remnants of human presence.”

Based on their interests, participants chose from a variety of supplies — field guides, field recording equipment, hand lenses, insect nets, colored pencils, notebooks, and an aspirator (a whimsical contraption used to suck bugs into a container for examination). We set off towards the west end of the park.

As our group entered a wide meadow, the sun won out. Layers were shed as the groups dispersed to their chosen spots, navigating by intuition. One group found a hidden trail that led to a shady nook in the forest, two groups went to the edge of the meadow where a sheer drop led to Shilshole Bay, the Olympic Mountains gleaming in the distance. The fourth group found a spot in the tall grasses of the meadow, focusing on the intricate multi-layered diversity thriving in their small sample area.

After about an hour, we met up and shared our results. Below is some documentation of participant’s diverse approaches to understanding their plots. A larger gallery of work from this prolific event is at https://www.flickr.com/photos/documentationinthefield/. Lucinda Roanoke documented the documenting, and her photos can be viewed here.
photo credit Kerri Rosenstein
Kerri Rosenstein
photo credit Kerri Rosenstein
Kerri Rosenstein
photo credit Kerri Rosenstein
Kerri Rosenstein
photo credit Kerri Rosenstein
Kerri Rosenstein
photo credit Kerri Rosenstein
Kerri Rosenstein
photo credit Letty M Barnes
Letty M Barnes
photo credit Letty M Barnes
Letty M Barnes
Ryan Pierce
Ryan Pierce
Ryan Pierce
Ryan Pierce
Ryan Pierce
Ryan Pierce
Ryan Pierce
Ryan Pierce
Ryan Pierce
Ryan Pierce

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