Balance between humanity and ecology




Spears, Steven Joseph, 1974-

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Incorporating aspects of public and environmental art practices into my professional endeavors as a landscape architect and urban designer has provided me with opportunities to work at a human scale, consider human needs, and focus on environmental issues that are closely interwoven with those needs. The public and environmental art process has presented greater opportunities to balance the sublime with the pragmatic and allows for a more overt communication between designer and audience, viewer or user. Functioning in this interstitial space allows me to communicate ideas clearly and to initiate a broader discussion on how society might find a balance between the stewardship of the natural environment in the face of the exponential growth of communities and the desire to own and develop land. My aim is to strike a balance between economic development and environmental imperatives through work bridging the practice of landscape architecture and public art. My objective is to use art and design work in the environment to persuade people to utilize all of their senses and to realize the undiscovered in their own journey, to stop and notice the world around them, and to act to protect the delicate balance between contemporary civilization and precious ecosystems. Using a method to register and then to make overt ephemeral elements in the environment, I aim to both demonstrate the ever-changing quality of nature and, more importantly, abuses of the natural environment in our society. Although my interest in the natural environment is multifaceted, water quantity and quality is a focus for my work. It is fast becoming a global issue with dire environmental and social ramifications. In the southwest United States and Australia, water is scarce. In the northwest United States and Finland, water quality remains an issue. In parts of Africa and Asia, water is being privatized and villages are left without a source of life and livelihood that has been a constant for generations. The more poetic aspect of my work focuses on natural time and revealing the abstract beauty of the environment. Shadows, sun, water and wind are all environmental systems that we can learn from and are revealed to us through natural time. It is through natural time that we may learn, respect and come into balance with the environment. In order for my work to succeed on all levels and reach the broadest possible audience, it needs to exist in the public realm. In order for it to communicate effectively it needs to be both, persuasive and poetic; while revealing possibilities for harmony between humanity and ecology. This can be achieved by communicating natures’ equilibrium surrounding environmental issues in the face of human civilization and time.



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