Artist Lab Report:
Re_Adjusting to Nature // Re_Discovering Science

by Jeremy Eichenbaum

Lakeside Labs and my rehabilitation…

Upon arrival to Lakeside Labs I had an overwhelming feeling that I had just checking into a rehab center. Maybe it was the housing, communal dining, or all the friendly faces… either way I was out of my comfort zone and starting to have withdrawals from the life I once knew. The longer I stayed, the quicker I realized this was far different from the Betty Ford Clinic… This rehab center at Lakeside Labs was focused on readjusting to a life thats more conscious of the natural world around us through scientific exploration, examination,  and explanation (the three big E’s as I like to call them).  Regardless, I was having withdrawals from the urban and digital life I had grown accustom and unknowingly locked into.

I say all that half jokingly, but the reality is that when I got to Lakeside, for the first day or two I felt like a fish out of water. Coming from the heart of Los Angeles, it had been a long time since I spent a substantial amount of time in nature, let alone with people so knowledgable and enthusiastic about the natural world around us. As I adjusted to my new temporary habitat I made a conscious effort to put down my mobile device and focus my camera lens on the beautiful landscape, professors, and students studying here as a means of guiding my rehabilitation and assimilation back to nature.

Observing Nature // Study 01

It hit me quick that slowing down and observing my surrounds was going to be my best bet for understanding my new environment. Using the camera as a tool, I took the time to setup in one location for an hour and look deep into those immediate surroundings. For one second every minuet I filmed a different scene, totaling 60 individual observations. I noticed in the beginning my observations were random, but as the hour ticked away I became focused on compositions that emphasized light play in an the organic space. The following video is the compiled result of the study.

Weekly Recap June 3-9 2019

Looking deeper, one big take away from my first week had to do with mortality and survivorship. I sat in on an ecology class taught by Neil Bernstein and listening to him talk about species survivorship curves, I couldn’t help but think about my own mortality curve. This also became more emphasized when my curve almost became a sharp cut off with a chance bison encounter in the Badlands of South Dakota during an acoustic ecology excursion led by Alex Braidwood.

This video recap tries to visualize some of the connections I was making and experiences I was having.

“Artists and scientists are both asking questions about the world, they’re just doing it in different ways”
Alex Braidwood
Director, Iowa Lakeside Lab Artists-in-Residence Program
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