Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ephemeral Books

I'm rather intrigued by the ice book projects of Basia Irland who is an environmental artist concerned with river and watershed restoration. She works with research biologists, botanists, stream ecologists and community groups on various conservation projects to promote healthy watersheds. As part of her river restoration projects, she works with participants to hand carve ice books of frozen river water and embeds each with local native seeds which become sort of an "ecological language or riparian text" as she calls it. As the frozen books are launched downstream, the ice melts in the river's current and the seeds are released. Theoretically the seeds will grow into plants and trees which help to stabilize the river banks and provide shelter for fish and wildlife. I imagine this could happen, but it seems rather overly simplistic to me. I do appreciate the concept however and think her ephemeral books are beautiful. They promote an awareness of watershed preservation and restoration, and oh yeah, it must be really fun to watch ice books float downstream. You can watch a video of Irland's ice book project Receding/Reseeding here.


This ice book weighed 200 pounds and included seeds of the mountain maple, columbine, and spruce. It was released in Boulder Creek, Colorado in 2007.


A young ice book reader wonders why there are no pictures. 

Irland makes other materials in the construction of her environmental books. The one above is Barnacle Book II on the shores of Puget Sound in Washington state. Below is a text of sand dollars in what else, but sand.




The Book of Drought is made from parched field notes and dehydrated paragraphs. The pages are dry from being sun-baked.


1 comment:

  1. What an interesting idea. It would be a great shot of the Ice Book with nice lighting.

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