The Artists-in-Residence program paves the way for LTER scientists and others in the KBS community to explore the intersection between art and science. We are excited to learn more from our artists and scientists as the KBS LTER explores options for creating a long-term program in art and science collaborations. This program is one of several art-science collaborations taking place across the LTER Network.
Our first-ever artist, a self-described “people, plants, and dirt-lover”, Erin Schneider, co-owner of Hilltop Community Farm in La Valle, Wisconsin. Erin visited KBS and worked with the community to examine the interstices between science, nature, and art through poetry. The culmination of her first week was a poetry workshop where Erin shared her work and invited others to do the same. On her following visit, she will help to organize the Allurement Salon, and evening showcasing the art and science from KBS to the broader community.
Two poems by Erin, inspired by her visit to the LTER, are below:
- Isn’t it funny
after a decade of vigor and climb
You were razed overnight.
I didn’t raise you
Though I remember planting you, a slender whip,
with a rooted tuck
A gentle press and off you went
All spindly, chalk-white, and nodal
And when you leafed out to scintillate silver, alchemize the sun
I stood winded, sighed
the sapling years were through
Before I knew you surpassed 5’ 10’’
explored new heights underground,
ran amok with neighbors.
Roots groping, branching out, testing boundaries,
Leaves settling for sun allotment
Trunk sequentially spaced
and turgidity in check.
Wonder and Movement came naturally to you.
I knew resisting change causes the past
to present memories
on quaking platters.
I take to analyzing the remains;
Age is a number
Gravity a wave
Tree breath a miracle
Attractions sometimes strange.
I love these poplars and this world!
Ten years ago, such a proclamation would’ve
upset control, emancipate research.
But now, appreciation for decays’ arrival,
And transformed research,
I reach for a fine sip of soil
As timbre goes underground.
Sporulating nightcaps of mushrooms reclaim stumps and pollards
And everywhere I look, fuel for renew.
-Erin Schneider 7-17-19
- I used to chase windmills,
Held wooded expectations not even lake winds and gull cries could stir.
Now, I embrace Tilia time,
Discover where data might end and reverie begin.
And learn to answer the kinglets whisps
with my listening voice
Stilled by the immensity of it all.
I step into your robed canopy of
heart shape leaves, the way you branch and breathe
into the soft spaces behind my ear and
Offer your stump to rest
I unwind into your lime green
That must have massaged temples,
Welcomed strangers avian, human and Other, wise
Softening worries, absorbed and etched in
Your furrowed trunk and brow beats,
I pause, attempt to write your shape, witness your arboreal expectorants
Florets posited on petioles poised, at the ready
To soothe coughs, enhance drumbeats, feed bees,
blur lines where canopy and clouds part ways.
Basswood, linden, little leaf, big heart
-Erin Schneider 5-21-19
The interest and participation in the artists-in-resdience program motivated the publication of a ‘Summer at KBS Anthology’, wherein students, staff, and researchers shared artwork and writings highlighting their scientific discoveries. Those who worked at KBS were invited to submit their pieces, inspired by their experiences that made a lasting impression on them. The anthology features poems, sketches, and writings inspired by events that took place in summer 2019.