and so it begins…


(written at approximately 21:00 on april 6)

it’s time to update as we have now spent 5 days in civita.

the silence in this town, especially at nighttime, is so unbelievably loud. if there is such a thing… i have never been to a town this small, let alone lived in one. there has been a moment each night as we are gearing down, where we once again realize exactly where we are, and how there are less than 10 other individuals (most of which we can’t even communicate with) who are also out here on this island in the sky, and this strange sense of hysteria takes over us. it’s really insane. laughing though we don’t really know why. wondering what 30 days of this will actually feel like. are we going to make it? how did we end up here anyways? is this even real? is our project actually going to come to fruition?

there have been constant intense gusts of wind for the past two days. during this time the internet has pretty much stopped working entirely, and today the power has been dropping in and out all day. like right now, as we sit here in the dark… makes research and project advancement fairly difficult. but i have been reading and summarizing a lot of information about animal architecture that we want to include in our presentation. jon has been focusing on photographing and piecing together the perfect panoramic shots of civita that we are going to use for our photo montages. and together we have slowly began brainstorming what we want our creations to be. we have set up our work station at the large square kitchen table in our apartment. this is a nice and open space to work in, but also is probably influencing our constant intake of food…

as with all forms of nest building, getting a project started is the most difficult phase and also where the greatest source of variability is introduced. our main struggle so far has essentially concerned what role we want science to play versus our imaginations. all the information we are learning about how animals build is very interesting, but also could potentially be restrictive in some ways to the artistic side of our project if we cling to the facts too closely. overall we are leaning towards focusing on the commonalities of building techniques exerted by all animals, but exaggerating their creations with our imaginations to develop what their version of a civita take-over would be like.

the commonalities we are studying include simple constructions made from standard units, few select local materials that are found near the nest site and/or created by their own bodies, and the fact that the aesthetic beauty in what animals create generally comes from the repetition of these styles and materials. we also want to focus on the fact that nest building itself might have contributed to the evolution of greater social complexity in general, especially in the case of social spiders.

overall i am thinking that if we can get the internet to come back, or at least get the power to stay on, our project is going to be great. but being out here in the middle of nowhere, while mercury is in retrograde nonetheless, i am beginning to wonder if this is just how it’s going to be all month. and if that’s the case, maybe we will just lose our minds out here and accomplish nothing. but for now i will just keep reading and hope for the best.

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One Response to and so it begins…

  1. bob gentry says:

    Lauren,
    The absence of noise is deafening. Interesting. Can’t wait to see the product. How the animals and insects adapt? How is Jon and Lauren adapting? Who are the change agents?
    Love you all. dad

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