Rosie Sextant,Winter 2015

This piece is guided by a comparative reading of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican and Eurasian insights regarding how to chart the movement of light as well as notions of cosmic dualism. The lines defining each side not only the recall way flowers and their petals seemed to funnel light, but also served as inspiration for “cosmic spirals” frequently found in architecture and manuscripts. Rosey Sextant will rock or spin when gently nudged in either direction while too much force will produce an unhappy result. The rock for the carving was quarried from the area of Kinbasket Lake, BC in late August, just when the salmon complete their migration towards the Rockies. Soon after the carving’s return to the School of One, Rosie Sextant was given as a gifted as a companion piece to B.K., who, as seen elsewhere in the Global Art Project, embarked on an extraordinary road trip to Baja California.

Alberta Culture Public History

Public History Culture Sherwood Park

“Rosie Sextant” by CG
Date: March 31st 2015 Time: 1:00 p.m. Temperature: 16° Celsius
Where: Millennium Ridge, Sherwood Park AB

On the last and one of the warmest days of March, I decided to go for a walk and enjoy the sunlight after lunch. More than a year ago, when my family and I moved to Edmonton from British Colombia, we went for a walk on a sunny day like this and found a little commercial square called Millennium Ridge and noticed a small fountain splashing water everywhere right in the middle of all these “modern” stores. This peculiar little fountain presents a very “nature like” design that creates a noticeable contrast with the surroundings. It’s made of nothing but rocks laying in random distribution and shapes around the main rectangular rock structure where the water comes from when the fountain is on. I remember the waves created by the splashing water falling everywhere keeping every single rock wet and refreshed on a hot day. This time, though, the fountain was off, and the water was serene, a mirror reflecting anything in its vicinity. This gave me a completely different perspective from the one I got last summer. Just as Michel de Certeau proposes in “Walking in the City”, I picked this place based on a positive memory that beckoned me to come back even though it’s not very close to where I live. This particular fountain doesn’t have a name nor does it act as a monument for any special event or figure from the past. It just stands there, in “the middle of modernity” as a reminder of Nature.

Nature’s Finest by DR
Date: March 16, 2015 Time: 3:56 pm Tempature: 5 degrees celcius
Location: 15 kilometres east of Sherwood Park

This photo has a strong sense of nature and light. It was taken in a place where it is quiet and full of nature, a place where animals roam without worry, and a place where possibilities are endless. This place is my home. This place is secluded and it allows you to be with nature. I have waited a long time to live in such a paradise. My spouse and I are happy to call this paradise our first home.

I took a photo of the sculpture in front of a pile of cut wood. The wood has meaning to me as the tree that was cut down just months before was a big deal for me. I didn’t want to cut the tree down but it was a danger to our home. It was the first tree that I had ever cut down. Although I didn’t want to cut it down, it was for a good reason. As a result of this action, this wood will provide our home with heat for the next winter. Even though we took something from our paradise, we will also be giving back with less energy consumption.

Alberta Public History Culture Sherwood Park

As you can see in the photo, there are a lot of trees around and not a lot of anything else. This place/space is an escape for me. It is far enough from “civilization” but also close enough to important modern day services (ie. Hospitals). This is my true natural nature. Although I believe that we all live in nature somewhere on the globe, this particular type/place is my true definition of natural.

This place allows us to be a part of civilization but it still allows us to be independent and live off the land. My spouse and I would like to plant a large bountiful garden and perhaps even raise chickens. It would be my dream to live entirely off the land but because I grew up in the city with many privileges, there are certain aspects of modernization that I cannot leave behind.

This place’s essence can only be realized by being a walker through this paradise. I needed to walk and adventure this paradise to understand its beauties.

Alberta Public History Culture Elk Island

Swimming in Snow by NC
Date: Saturday, 7th March 2015 Time: 2-4pm Temperature: 6° Celsius
Location: Elk Island National Park

I recently went on a snowshoe trip to Elk Island organized by the University, and thought it would be a good opportunity to take my photo with the sculpture there. We met our tour guide named Ian, a volunteer at the park, and he gave us a lot of information. Elk Island was established in 1906 to protect animals that were being overhunted. It was supposed to be a temporary space, but the park has since been well maintained and continues to give shelter and preserve the environment and wildlife there.

When I was there, I took a lot of shots with the nature as the backdrop, not really knowing what I was supposed to capture. When I came home I realized that I had taken photos of the carving in the snow. The snow was a little hilly, giving the impression of waves, which emphasized the way the sculpture looks like a fish, or, in this instance, like a fish swimming in snow. This apparent harmony I created between the sculpture and Nature reminds me of Michel de Certeau’s concept of The Walker, in which pedestrians create new meanings when they walk on the sidewalk. If I return to Elk Island again, I will be reminded of the time when I took pictures of the piece and how the snow looked like waves


Untitled by SL
Date: 24 March 2015 Time: Around 9:00 am Temperature: -4° Celsius
Where: Tory Business Atrium - University of Alberta

This photo aimed to capture some of the natural elements that have been incorporated into this indoor space. This is not only a space I walk through on my way to my morning class, but also a space that I have walked through almost every day for my entire undergrad career. Thus, I am very familiar with this venue. A significant amount of natural light showers through the glass ceiling onto an impressive amount of plants found throughout this space. For me, the atrium feels like a greenhouse, a welcome reprieve from some of the outdated, usually quite dull, classrooms where I spend most of my days. The sculpture rests at the top of stairs, near one flowerbed. In the background a fairly recent living wall installation can just be seen (this is my favourite part). The living wall is comprised of many individual potted plants resting on self-watering shelves. I have always thought that the three separate living wall installations look like an “H”, and so assumed they were a sort of homage to the namesake of the Henry Marshall Tory Building (named after the university’s first president). Maybe they are a subtle nod to an important figure, maybe they are just bringing a part of nature to an indoor space. To me this space was a deliberate creation to bring nature inside. The atrium itself connects the Alberta School of Business, the Henry Marshall Tory Building, and HUB so that the small distance between them can be traversed without going to the usually cold outdoors. It is interesting this a space which was probably constructed so that people do not need to go outside so deliberately lets outside in through both immense amounts of natural lighting and many potted plants.

Alberta Public History Culture Business

Group Journal

Name of carving: Rosie Sextant
Themes: Nature, Light, Modernity

Major Themes, descriptions and connection to class material:

After taking our photos of the sculpture in nature, we decided to connect our photos in relation to Michel de Certeau, and his concept of The Walker. Our initial thought was to use “light and nature” as themes, but it was hard to capture natural light as we could not manipulate it.

Recording of who has the carving and when:

NC: Received carving on Thursday, 5th March 2015. Photo option at Elk Island National Park on Saturday 7th March, 6 degrees Celsius from 2-4pm. Will pass the carving to the next person by Tuesday, 10th March.

Additional information: I found out a lot of information from the tour guide on my trip to Elk Island, and thought it would be interesting to know. The bison from Elk Island are disease free and very popular, so they regularly send some to Russia and North America. There is also no way to trim the trees, for example with the use of controlled burning, because there was an accident on the highway the last time they did it. The guide wasn’t sure how many types of animals there were, but gave lots of examples: deer, wolves, coyotes, bear, beavers, mice, and bison. It’s a fenced park (194 km2) but I found it very miraculous that we did not see much wildlife on our hike. The last time I was there all I saw was bison, and it was the same this time around too. I think the pictures I took of the carving in the snow represents how wildlife and nature can exist so well together with the help of nature conservation done right.

DR: Received carving on March 10th. Noted: Focus photos on nature/wood. Will bring carving back on March 17th.

Additional information: It was hard to chose one particular photo. I took many photos using light as a focus on the carving as we had first discussed that theme. I then decided to walk around the wooded area and focus on trees, snow, nature in general. The photo I picked was my best representation of nature and a part of what nature provides to me. Although I did not speak to anyone regarding the space or the sculpture, it was very interesting to examine the space and the nature around me on my own.
Side note: This was a very interesting project. I have certainly never done something like this but it really made me think of the spaces around me.

SL: Received March 17. Noted: Will have it to pass off on March 24. Nature + campus photos.
Additional information: I decided I would take photos on my walk to class, I guess to kind of take notice of what I interact with on campus as I start my day. We had discussed using light or nature as a theme, and in a way I thought they went hand in hand. If I paid attention to any “nature” on my walk to class (I think solely being plants that had been placed inside of campus buildings), this would also mean an interaction with light as we do not get plant life without a light source. This meant on my walk my photos involved large windows that either let sunlight into the building, and would have plants placed in the vicinity so they benefitted, or windows that might give those of us inside to experience the outside more “natural” nature (this included the river valley, and the more purposefully placed plant life around Rutherford House). I kind of thought that Benjamin’s ideas about authenticity could be used to think about the differences in the nature experienced in my photos, but also between the groups photos. If one wanted to argue that one type of nature was a more authentic nature than the other. Could nature found outside that has not been shaped at all by human hands be the highest, most authentic nature, and maybe would any type of outdoor nature be more authentic than what we bring inside of buildings and apply careful planning to? Maybe one is better, but even that would be dependent on how we are categorizing “better” (ex. our benefit - oxygen, air purification - aesthetics, naturalness). The idea of looking at nature in spaces would also lend itself well to ideas from Lefebvre and De Certeau. I mindfully navigated spaces I interact with everyday and paid attention to their construction. This way I saw the creativity that was put into spaces, and then myself interacted creatively by using them for a photograph.

CG: Received the carving on March 31st. Noted: Contrast between modernity/ Nature and light. Will keep the carving until assignment is due.

Additional Information: When I took a walk looking for a place to take my picture, my initial idea was something focused on the projection of light within a nature environment. I took a couple pictures in a park, a few more in a parking lot (for some weird reason) and finally, I discovered the place where my picture had the most interesting meaning. The square where I took the final picture made me think of the idea of spaces because of the contrast I found between a familiar Fountain and the surroundings. I thought it was interesting to see how something with an apparent strong connection to nature could fit so perfectly in the middle of modernity, and then it came to my mind De Certeau’s theory about the perspective of a walker who “writes” his/her own path around the city/surroundings. To connect it to our University perspective, I thought it had some similarities with the fact that we as students choose different places around campus to do certain activities (study, eat, relax, talk, read) based on the surroundings, amount of people, decoration, colours, architecture and design of a building, etc. -- most times without even noticing. So this is probably a good way to zoom in into De Certeau’s theory within campus when we “write” our own paths at school everyday. Now, without forgetting our initial connection to light and nature, in my personal opinion, places on campus to study are more pleasant when there is at least an element of nature around because for me it provides a little sense of life between all those boring plain walls (which is also a contrast between nature and modernity). This project was a good way to actually put theory into real life situations we don't even notice.