- Jane Flint
- Ronald Rael &
Virginia San Fratello
- Mary Anne Friel
- Todd Gilens
- Matt Suib &
- Mitchell Maher
- Deborah O'Grady, Shirley Watts &
- Denise Newman &
- Gail Wight
- Nami Yamamoto
Denise Newman & Hazel White
Botanica Recognita: Signage to Facilitate a Greeting,2012
Site: Various Garden beds
Denise Newman is a poet and translator. She is the author of three collections of poems, The New Make Believe, (The Post-Apollo Press, 2010), Wild Goods (Apogee Press, 2008), and Human Forest(Apogee Press, 2000). Her translation of The Painted Room by the Danish poet Inger Christensen is distributed by Random House (United Kingdom), and her translation of Azorno, also by Christensen, was published by New Directions, 2009.
Her poems, collaborations, and translations have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Volt, Fence, New American Writing, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. For the past decade, she has been collaborating with composers, providing lyrics for choral works. She lives and works in San Francisco.
Hazel White grew up on farms in the southwest of England. After finishing undergraduate degrees in philosophy and literature at Warwick University, she studied crop agriculture at Bridgwater College Center for Land Based Studies, and then, through University of California, Berkeley, Extension, landscape architecture. She’s the author of eleven gardening books, published by Sunset Books and Chronicle Books, and for several years wrote a monthly column, “Living in the Landscape,” published by the San Francisco Chronicle. White graduated from the MFA Writing program at California College of the Arts in 2005. Her poetry has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Tarpaulin Sky (online), and VERSE.A chapbook, Richter 14, was published in 2010 by Deconstructed Artichoke Press. Her most recent book of poetry Peril as Architectural Enrichment was published by Kelsey Street Press in 2011. She lives in San Francisco.
In collaboration with the remarkable gardeners at the UC Botanical Garden, we have composed a series of 25 signs that works off the existing scientific signage to provide viewers with information that will facilitate a fresh encounter with the garden flora and site.
Our main goal is to foster a remembering of botanical discovery, a greeting rising between human animal consciousness and photosynthate form, crossing porous membranes of skin and bark in an anciently familiar, shared expression of biological animation.
Signs highlight the plant’s existence with the following information:
- name of caretaker (gardener)
- most important collaborator (bird, wind, etc.)
- poetic name based on the plant’s uniqueness
- location in relation to the viewer and surrounding topography
- question posed to or by the plant
Ronald Rael & Virginia San Fratello
Plywood and glass tubes with reflective coating for solar application
Site: Californian Area adjacent to waterfall at Strawberry Creek
Photo credits: Matthew Millman and Michael Friel
Project Team: Rael San Fratello Architects: Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello, Kent Wilson, Bryan Allen, Chase Lunt, Dustin Moon, Bridget Basham
Fabrication: Matarozzi/Pelsinger Builders
Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello partners in Rael San Fratello Architects, established in 2002 in Oakland CA, is an internationally recognized award-winning firm whose focus on emerging technologies and ecological design lies at the intersection of architecture, art, culture, and the environment. As practitioners and academics, we seek to bridge the gap between the theory and practice of ecological thinking through design and are committed to innovation through research, analysis and artistry. We utilize the most sophisticated technologies available, from rapid prototyping, computer-aided manufacturing and 3D modeling, analysis and visualization to help our clients realize their visions.
Descending into the Strawberry Creek from the California Native section of the Berkeley Botanical Gardens, one discovers The SOL Grotto. Inside is an array of nearly 1,400 glass tubes that transmit light into the cool, dark space. The glass tubes are illuminated naturally to an electric-blue color from the ambient light and change throughout the day. The tubes take on the form of a cave wall or a waterfall. The view through the rods is simultaneously kaleidoscopic and mesmeric. The sound of a waterfall is present inside The SOL Grotto and the combination of sound, light, views and coolness filtering through the cracks in the flooring creates a highly sensorial space.
Seen from afar, the glass tubes appear to be a continuation of the shimmering creek or a cloud of mist rising from the waterfall. The tubes were recovered from Solyndra. The solar panels developed by the company were claimed to be unlike any other product ever tried in the industry. The panels were made of racks of cylindrical tubes (also called tubular solar panels), as opposed to traditional flat panels. Although the company was once touted for its unusual technology, plummeting silicon prices led to the company being unable to compete with more conventional solar panels. On September 1, 2011, the company ceased all business activity, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and laid off all employees leaving behind 24 million glass tubes in San Jose, California destined to be destroyed.
Project Credits: Rael San Fratello Architects: Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello, Bridget Bashman, Bryan Allen, Kent Wilson
Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, partners in Rael San Fratello Architects, established in 2002 in Oakland CA, is an internationally recognized award-winning firm whose focus on emerging technologies and ecological design lies at the intersection of architecture, art, culture, and the environment. As practitioners and academics, we seek to bridge the gap between the theory and practice of ecological thinking through design and are committed to innovation through research, analysis and artistry. We utilize the most sophisticated technologies available, from rapid prototyping, computer-aided manufacturing and 3D modeling, analysis and visualization to help our clients realize their visions.
Under the Influence,2011
Site: Arid House
This installation has been removed from the exhibition.
single channel video
Site: Upper bathrooms
Gail Wight is an artist based in Berkeley, CA. She is an Associate Professor at Stanford University in the Department of Art and Art History. Wight has exhibited her work internationally, including venues such as the Natural History Museum of London, Ars Electronica (Austria), Exit Art (New York), Kohler Art Center (Sheboygan, WI), the Physics Room (New Zealand), and Cornerhouse, Manchester. She has worked for a research project on cognition at MIT, in the Exploratorium's Performance Program, and has held residencies at the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy, at Capp Street Project, the Exploratorium, the Albuquerque High Performance Computing Center, and Headlands Center for the Arts.
Wight investigates issues of biology and the history of science and technology. Her work engages the cultural impact of scientific practice, and plays with our constant redefinition of self through our epistemologies. Historical frameworks express themselves in concepts about the nature of existence as well as upon the tools that emerge out of scientific research. As an artist, Wight traces the ways in which those tools carry their ideologies with them, moving from the scientific to the social sphere and impacting the art-making process. Recent projects often involve other living organisms, inviting them to become co-authors in the finished work of art.
Under the Influence
In the 1960’s, Dr Peter Witt administered commonly used psychotropic drugs to spiders to investigate how it affected their web building. Wight has taken his documentation of the results, and then used sunlight and a magnifying glass to burn replicas of the resulting webs into vellum, inadvertently creating small holes which allow the sun to pour through the drawings. The large drawings will be installed in the glass arid house, home of many spiders and some of Witt's psychotropic plants.
The spiderweb drawings in the arid house:
- Under the Influence: Benzedrine
- Under the Influence: Caffeine
- Under the Influence: Chloral hydrate
- Under the Influence: LSD
- Under the Influence: Marijuana
- Under the Influence: Mescaline
an august afternoon
a pacific breeze
a meandering walk
an exploratory silk
a discarded leaf
a gust of wind
Additional support was provided by the following donors:
Montalvo Arts Center's Lucas Artists Residency, Stephen Wight
Site: Billboards, walls and windows near you.
Working with Paolo Roversi’s technique of ‘light painting’ and armed with a camera and a flashlight, Maher has produced a series of mysterious and intimate portraits of some of the spectacular specimens of the unseen duplicate collection at the garden. The finished works will be exhibited at Flora Grubb Gardens, Mrs Dalloway’s Books and other locations in the Bay Area.
Sponsors: Natural Discourse, Kickstarter Campaign
Deborah O’Grady, Shirley Alexandra Watts and Shane Myrbeck
O Music of Eyes,2012
Photography, sound and printed silk
Site: The Garden of Old Roses UCBG and Bart Rotunda in downtown Berkeley
Sound Piece (please listen over headphones):
A three part work employing photography, sound and printed silk. Images of roses and verse culled from the long history and culture of roses is investigated. The work is sited in the rose garden at UCBG and on the Bart Rotunda in downtown Berkeley.
Deborah O’Grady’s photography encompasses a diversity of styles and approaches. Her landscape photography explores the varying degrees in which the history of a particular place is in evidence, often employing text or text/sound installations to enrich the context of the image. Her photo montages couple original photographs with found snapshots to extend the reach of a single photographic image beyond the frozen moment. In this way, time and space are stretched to provide an enriched contextual resource for these vernacular images.
O’Grady’s work has been exhibited internationally and nationally, most recently at the Public Policy Institute of California, The Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C., the International Fototage in Mannheim, Germany and as a video projection for live concert performance at the world premiere of Enemy Slayer at the Phoenix Symphony.
Shirley Alexandra Watts is an artist and designer, principal of sawattsdesign an award winning design build firm that creates gardens all over the Bay Area. She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, studied at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris and Tyler School of Art in Rome. Watts has done installations at the San Jose Museum of Art, The San Francisco Flower and Garden show and the :Late Show Gardens. The work has been featured in many publications including Garden Design Magazine, Sunset, the SF Chronicle, New Garden Design by Zahid Sardar , The New Low Maintenance Garden by Valerie Easton and Stephen Orr's Tomorrow's Garden.
Since 2007, Shirley has been working as an independent curator with Paul Licht, Chris Carmichael and Mary Anne Friel at the Botanical Garden at the University of California at Berkeley (UCBG) to develop the ideas and programming for Natural Discourse: Artists, Architects, Scientists & Poets in the Garden. Shirley is committed to fostering a cross-disciplnary dialogue between artists, writers and scientists inspired by the wonderful collection at UCBG.
Shane Myrbeck is a sound artist, composer and acoustician living in San Francisco. He operates in a variety of sonic contexts, including installation design, composition, architectural acoustics consulting, music performance, lecturing and sound recording. Shane’s work explores the visceral and immersive nature of sound through spatial audio display and multi-sensory pieces. His work has been exhibited at Fort Mason Center, the Intersection for the Arts, Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, the Lab, California Academy of Sciences, the ODC Theatre, Arup SoundLab, the Whitehaus and IBM Tokyo. Shane spends his professional life as an acoustics consultant at Arup, and is currently in charge of the San Francisco SoundLab, an immersive, full-sphere ambisonic sound studio used for composition and acoustic simulation.
Polymer plate printed hand made paper and Plexiglas
Site: Benches throughout the Garden
Jane Flint is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and has studied with a number of poets including Jane Hirschfield, Galway Kinnell, Sharon Olds, Lucille Clifton and Robert Hass. She has published online and in magazine and book format, including Breast Strokes’, a book of poetry and prose. This is the first time she has presented her poetry as an installation in a garden.
In addition to writing poetry, Jane has had a career as a creative in animation, puppetry, and film and as a designer and developer of instructional media, toys, and for the web.
Jane Flint’s Human: Nature is a collection of poems related to specific geographic regions represented through the garden’s botanical collection. These are “poems of place” with each poem placed in the garden in the area about which it is written. A range of human responses to the natural world are mirrored in the poems, from reflection upon and dialog with nature, to pure observation of and advocacy for the workings of this earth. Throughout we are provided with a rich vocabulary of metaphors and mysteries that gardens, plants, and places hold for us as humans. A selected poem will be available to garden visitors free in the form of a postcard to send out into the world.
Additional support was provided by the following donors:
Diane Abt, Carole Brighton, Cathy Edgett, Suzanne Flint, David Kimball, Magnolia Editions, Logos Graphics, Jim Mayer, Deepa Preeti Natarajan, San Francisco Center for the Book, Cynthia Schrager, Curtis Schreier, Sandra Wassilie, Aletha Worrall.
Site: Bamboo grove in Asian area
Bamboo Zither is a site specific sound installation designed for a grove of bamboo in the Asian area of the garden that transforms the bamboo’s natural movement into an emergent soundscape. 7 bamboo shoots will be fitted with miniature 3-axis accelerometers to record their position in 3D space. As the bamboo sways in the wind, tones will be generated by their movement. Like a harp or a zither, the bamboo will be turned into a musical instrument played by the wind.
Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib have worked as artistic collaborators since 2008. Their installation After Provisional Monument for the New Revolution, a panoramic moving image, was recently on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. They currently reside in Philadelphia. Hironaka’s films and video installations have been exhibited internationally in PULSAR (Venezuela); Rencontres Internationals (Paris/Berlin); The Den Haag Film and Video Festival (The Netherlands); The Center for Contemporary Arts (Kitakyushu, Japan); The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Morris Gallery; The Black Maria Film Festival, The Donnell Library (NYC); The Fabric Workshop and Museum (Philadelphia); The Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia); The Galleries at Moore College of Art (Philadelphia); and Vox Populi, (Philadelphia). Hironaka’s second solo museum exhibition The Late Show was recently presented at Arizona State University Art Museum. Suib has exhibited installations, video/sound works and photographs internationally at venues including the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Kunstwerke Berlin; Mercer Union (Toronto); The Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.); P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (NYC); The Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia); and the 2007 Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. His 2006 project Purified By Fire has been commissioned for exhibition in Miami, Chicago, Toronto and Paris. In 2011, Suib was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.
Mary Anne Friel
Recycled redwood staves, water, and existing water tanks
Site: Water Tank plateau above the Mediterranean Area
Photo Credit: Michael Friel
Built by Buck O’Neill Builders Inc., water feature installed by Thomas Friel Plumbing.
Mary Anne Friel is a visual artist engaged in individual and collaborative modes of studio and curatorial work. She lives in Providence where she is an assistant professor at Rhode Island School of Design. Friel served as Project Coordinator and Master Printer at The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) for over two decades where she was responsible for developing and producing new works of contemporary art and related exhibitions with visiting Artists-in-Residence in a context of interdisciplinary collaboration. Projects include Ed Ruscha, Industrial Strength Sleep; Chris Burden, L.A.P.D. Uniform, Doug Aitken, Interiors; and Teresita Fernandez, Fire. She established and directed a studio for FWM in Oakland, CA, 1990-99. Friel’s curatorial work includes Relatively Related: Solo of Xiang Yang at SZ Art Center (Beijing); Close at Hand with Ruth Fine, Virgil Marti and Marion Stroud at FWM (Philadelphia); and Blur: Six Artists, Six Designers in Contemporary Practice with Mark Campbell at The University of the Arts (Philadelphia). She is co-curator with Shirley Watts of Natural Discourse: Artists, Architects, Scientists, and Poets in the Garden.
Drawing on the rich history of garden pavilions and retreats, Water Pavilion creates an evocative contemplative space through a spare composition of wood, water, stone and site. Two pre-existing water tanks in UCBG’s Mediterranean Area are joined with circular walls built of salvaged tank staves to form an enclosure open to the sky. Stepping, from the lush garden environment, into the pavilion, a visitor is greeted by water streaming down the high inner wall. The sound of water and soft crush of gravel underfoot resonate in the surrounding silence. The space of enclosure focuses attention on the wood grain pattern of the staves and the precise geometry of the two monumental tanks, each holding 30,000 gallons. Opposite the falling water, a narrow entry frames a stunning view of Strawberry Creek Canyon, urban Berkeley, San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate. A dialogue of interior and exterior, of water tanks and watershed, of garden and city, invites reflection on the interrelationship of technology, culture, nature and self.
Buck O’Neill Builders Inc., Thomas Friel Plumbing, Rhode Island School of Design Professional Development Fund, James and Lela McKee Friel
Margie Albers Friel, Soltero Aguilar, Carlos Cardona, Joe Carpenter, Ralph Crispino Steve Dazey, Michael Friel, Jack Friel, Megan Friel, Haley Friel, Charles Friel, Christine Friel, Angel Fuentes, Todd Gilens, I-Park, Dan Matarozzi, Tasha Mckee, Liz McIlvaine, Kitty Quinn Friel, Christian Reyes, Steve Schultz/Electo Mechanical Systems, Bob Smithers, Kathy and Donald Stannard -Friel, Makka Thomas, Mary True Landscaping, Chip Tolleson, Shirley Watts and Steward Winchester/Hortecology
Inkjet print on adhesive-backed plastic
Site: Lath House, by the Crops of the World
Born in Los Angeles and raised in a standard-issue middle-class suburb, Todd Gilens’ work focuses on deepening experience through a robust understanding of places. Botany has come slowly into his work, at first through a graduate program in landscape architecture and later with excursions in California’s wild parklands, and occasional collecting and propagating work. Active across genres and materials as artist, curator and landscape designer, his public works include projects for civic, non-profit, historical and educational institutions, including the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency, Richmond Art Center, the Delaware Art Museum, San Francisco Zen Center and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. He was recently scholar in residence at the Long Term Ecological Reflections program at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in central Oregon and holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He lives and works in San Francisco.
Shade continues Gilen’s exploration of adding images to things to tease out multiple meanings. Adhering images of light and shade, the values that a plant might see growing in the natural shade of an oak forest, onto the garden’s 100 foot lath house shade house) he explores the many aspects of shade, from temporal patterns of semi-darkness and their effects on plants and people, to symbolic connections with spirits and ghosts. Aligning physical phenomena to metaphor and innuendo Gilens invites visitors to freshen their own perceptions and experience the University’s botanical collection with wonder, imagination and curiosity.
Ann Carlson, Katey Crews, Maria D’Agostino, Robert Geshlider, Wynn Hayakawa, Sam Kornhauser, Susan Malish, Bridget May, Alisa Schor, Raptorwraps, James Richmond
Nadia Hironaka and Mathew Suib
The Delight of Earthly Gardens,2012
Site: Utility shed by Tropical House entrance
Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib have worked as artistic collaborators since 2008. Their installation Provisional Monument for the New Revolution, a panoramic moving image, was recently on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. They currently reside in Philadelphia.
Hironaka’s films and video installations have been exhibited internationally in PULSAR (Venezuela); Rencontres Internationals (Paris/Berlin); The Den Haag Film and Video Festival (The Netherlands); The Center for Contemporary Arts (Kitakyushu, Japan); The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Morris Gallery; The Black Maria Film Festival, The Donnell Library (NYC); The Fabric Workshop and Museum (Philadelphia); The Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia); The Galleries at Moore College of Art (Philadelphia); and Vox Populi, (Philadelphia). Hironaka’s second solo museum exhibition The Late Show was recently presented at Arizona State University Art Museum.
Suib has exhibited installations, video/sound works and photographs internationally at venues including the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Kunstwerke Berlin; Mercer Union (Toronto); The Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.); P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (NYC); The Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia); and the 2007 Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. His 2006 project Purified By Fire has been commissioned for exhibition in Miami, Chicago, Toronto and Paris. In 2011, Suib was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.
Project Funding: Locks Gallery
Waxed linen and redwood rain gutter, wire, metal poles and hardware
Site: Stephen Mather Redwood Grove
According to Japanese legend that I learned as a child, the immortal wizard “Sennin” performed miracles in his solitary existence, sustained only by the mountain fog that shrouded his mornings and evenings. A similar tale can be told of the California redwood tree, also immortally old and no less miraculous in its size and character, which receives a significant portion (30-40%) of its water supply from moisture derived from the fog rolling in from the ocean. While this analogous relationship is purely poetic, it started me thinking about working with this concept of water collecting as the basis for my contribution to Natural Discourse.
After some preliminary research, I found that a rudimentary device does exist to capture water from environments prone to regular foggy conditions. Constructed from nets suspended vertically on armatures, these basic structures gather the moisture from fog passing through them, collecting significant amounts of water by dripping into a collection pool immediately below, flowing through pipes to an off-site location, or directly onto the plants they serve to nourish. My project consists of creating a site-specific work entitled Fog Catcher (working title) to be installed at the UCBG, using this netting technology to emulate the Coastal Redwood’s process of collecting water, and providing both a visually striking and functional installation for the duration of the exhibition.
Acknowledgements: Eric Hollenbeck at Blue Ox Millworks (Eureka, CA), Ross Craig, Steward Winchester, Sheldon and Judy Greene, Gregory Traceski, Tom Vance, Tom and Kitty Quinn Friel, Michel Friel and Margie Albers Friel, Jimmy Friel and Lela McKee Friel, Shirley Watts, and Mary Anne Friel.