Terrestrial Practice

"By foregrounding instruments in all of their forms and scales, an instrumentalist approach makes clear that maintenance practices have far more agency than is typically acknowledged."

Brian Davis, Landscapes and Instruments

By identifying and understanding “the rules” of mowing, we can translate its formal logic into a design language that is rooted in the function and meaning of the operation. The operation of the lawnmower is principally governed by its width, turning radius, and mowing height and thus its path can be generatively modeled using a CNC router. Patterns are created by overlaying these conventions. This fabrication process is analogous to the GPS guided machinery and real-time sensing of agribusiness (and of course contemporary vacuum technology).
Eight operations have been designed in collaboration with Brian Osborn, and are included in his publication surfaceFX. Relying on the overall strategy of the zamboni, field moiré and middle field experiments, these patterns can be established during late-Spring/early-Summer to accomplish a variety of objectives when reduced resources do not allow for a complete mow. For the late-Summer mowing, the previous paths can be repeated to create frames around the emerging urban wild or the entire site can be mown to provide a fresh canvas the following year.
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