The human experience of nature through urban wilds is multifaceted, as it can involve not just our appreciation of plants, trees, animals, birds, and phenomena of light and weather, but the more personal interactions and internal ruminations that these environments inspire. These excursions into nature are also a journey through history, as the landscape contains the residue and evidence of previous eras. From geological origins, the first habitation by Native Americans and subsequent European settlement, to the dramatic physical alterations that occurred throughout the 19th century, and the rapid industrialization and high-rise urbanity of the 20th, the artifacts of all these eras are evident upon contemplative bipedal observation. Wander, Wonder, Wilderness will capture how a simple walk through an urban wild can provide an opportunity to engage with the philosophical, socio-cultural, and economic complexity of the ever-changing relationship of humans to the wilderness.
My own personal experience with these locations will be documented in a long form essay film, where I chronicle the insights these spaces have provoked. A companion interactive component of this transmedia project will allow viewer/participants to visit a wide range of these natural locations in the greater Boston area and be provided with an opportunity to both experience dynamic content and create their own – with text, sound, and image – utilizing their smartphone devices. These sites will form a GPS triggered network of locative interactive spaces where a compendium of realizations can be shared with subsequent participants. The project’s website will perform multiple functions: providing a map and guide for participation in the work, and an interactive component where users can view other participant’s contributions and create their own, forming a comprehensive repository of all the media inspired and generated by the work. This community of wanderers will share the wonder that wilderness can inspire, cultivating a broader appreciation for a sustainable relationship to the natural environment and celebrating its profound teachings.
Until we launch in the Summer of 2014, we’re sharing photos of our experiences in urban wilds. We encourage you to do the same! Tag your Instagram photos #wanderurbanwilds and join our collective gallery.