About the Artwork
The prairie habitat is one of the most endangered in Canada and only a small fraction of the original tallgrass prairie remains, post-colonization. Despite years of over-cultivation, the grasses continue to hold the land together with their vast root systems.
Looking to prairie grass ecosystems, as well as the technologies that map and reflect the diminishing biome, connecting thru grasses considers how we might both map and define prairie boundaries anew. Considering how satellites passing overhead reflect an image of the earth (and thus of ourselves) back to us, and how these images shape or mis-shape our understanding of the land and our relationship to it, the work looks closer at TERRA, a research satellite that has circled the earth since 1999 constructing images for use in the monitoring of environmental and climate data.
Ecologically, prairie landscapes are incredibly diverse; thousands of species coexist without distinct boundaries between communities. These plants with strong roots act as a metaphor for building community across the prairie region, and in so doing, open up other possibilities for transcending borders, distance and relation.
Christina Battle on the loss of prairie ecosystems:
Prairie is one of the most endangered habitats in Canada. It is among the world’s most endangered ecosystems. More than 70% of Canada’s prairie grasslands have been converted.
About the Artist
Christina Battle is a multimedia artist, curator, and educator whose work unpacks the ongoing disasters happening in our world because of problems with large scale systems. “Through the generation of artistic works and curatorial projects, my approach relies on the premise that creating opportunities for new conversations around disaster has the potential to contribute to the reimaging of how dominant systems might radically shift.” says Battle (About | CHRISTINA BATTLE (cbattle.com)). Her work invites conversations about diverse yet related concerns, such as loss of ecosystems, ongoing pressures of colonialism, and systemic racism.
Likewise, Battle’s education background is diverse, connecting subjects and locations across North America. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Biology from the University of Alberta, a certificate in Film Studies from Ryerson University, a Masters of Fine Art from the San Francisco Art Institute, and a PhD in Art & Visual Culture from the University of Western Ontario.
Her work has a strong relationship with technology, incorporating video and audio, digital modes of communication such as gifs, and thinking about how we collect and interpret data from such advanced technologies as satellites.
Things to Think About, written by Christina Battle
- When you’re outside, imagine the view in front of you is replaced by nothing but grassland. Now imagine if 70% of that imagined view was missing. What does 70% loss look like?
Post your artwork online using the hashtag #studiosundayyqr!
Learn about the loss of an environment through altering a drawing or photograph of your neighbourhood.
CREATE YOUR OWN ARTWORK
What you Need:
- A piece of paper to draw on (9×12 if possible), or a printed photograph
- A piece of construction paper the same size as your drawing paper/photograph
- Drawing materials
What you Do:
- Draw your neighbourhood or take a photograph of it and print the photo out on paper. If you are drawing, try to include as many details about your neighbourhood as you can think of, such as people taking part in everyday actions, the animals and plants around you, and the man-made and natural features of the landscape. We recommend drawing on construction paper to make later steps in this project easier.
- Fold your drawing or photograph into ten equal sections. This may require using some math and a ruler if you want the sections to be exact:
- for a piece of paper that is 9 x 12 inches (approx. 22.9 x 30.5 cm), you could fold the paper in half lengthwise, then fold into five equal sections of about 2 3/8 inches (6 cm).
- Alternatively, if you want 10 long sections on your 9 x 12 inch paper, you can mark sections across the longer side of your paper 1.2 inches wide, (approx. 1 3/16 inches, or 3 cm).
- Fold another piece of construction paper of the same size as your artwork into the same ten equal sections and cut those sections apart. Glue seven of the sections down over your image, using the folds you made earlier to help you place them.
- Discuss with your family what went missing from your image when you glued down the seven sections. How does this make you feel about losing 7/10 sections of the prairie ecosystem?
- Want to learn more about what grows in a prairie ecosystem? Christina Battle provides an introduction to three prairie grasses here: Grasses – connecting thru grasses . You can also explore iNaturalist through a web browser (A Community for Naturalists · iNaturalist) or by downloading the phone app to see what species people have noticed around you. You can even contribute your own observations of plants, animals, and fungi to iNaturalist and participate in citizen science!
- You can also learn more about Battle’s seed planting project from Fall 2020 here https://us20.campaign-archive.com/?e=%5bUNIQID%5d&u=bdd90a8ff0b8884a59338e157&id=d7164565cf , and sign up for her spring seed planting project here Sign Up – connecting thru grasses.