100 Foot Circles is an ongoing site-specific series I recently began in attempt to address the changes/transitions/cycles (historic, social, natural, environmental) of specific land masses around the world. Some of these changes have disrupted the natural energy cycles, permanently harmed interconnected geographical and ecological elements of various landscapes and in many cases eliminated/erased/broke apart communities, cultural histories, and beneficial human and natural systems. This series sprang out of the need to understand and utilize the philosophy and applications of permaculture and to revisit the above poem by Lew Welch.
According to Masanobu Fukuoka, author of One Straw Revolution, our separation from nature is the origin of the current environmental crisis. The role of a farmer, in Fukuoka’s mind, is an observer, not an intervener, of the natural order in his/her particular landscape. Fukuoka points out that specific environmental problems are part of the larger problem of a disjointed relationship between human and nature and by only addressing a specific issue, though commendable, does not resolve the problem itself and until “the consciousness of everyone is fundamentally transformed, pollution will not cease”. Embracing Fukuoka’s ideas which are similar to those driving permaculture, I have positioned myself primarily as an observer as I approach each land mass. My process begins by simply entering a land as a wandering observer, without necessarily having prior historic knowledge of its history and without the intention of altering or changing it, but rather to just observe what is there. By marking a 100 foot area off, I’m highlighting a specific area to zero in on and more carefully observe. Positioned as an observer experiencing the changing nature of the ecosystem before researching, analyzing, and becoming familiar with the past history and the distinct natural system of that area, I seek to understand the entire problem rather than react to the single symptoms of a larger issue.