connecting thru grasses, digital video, 3 printed curtains panels, animated GIF, collage images on paper, participatory project with website and grass seed packs, Christina Battle, 2020.

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 Terra’s data collection:  

TERRA can see a lot. But it doesn’t account for the discrepancy as to who breathes what air. It records the impacts of climate change on a global level, but doesn’t monitor the unequal impacts imposed on communities when governments refuse to act against it.  

The resolution of images captured by TERRA range between 15 and 90 metres (or, 49 and 295 ft). That means: one pixel of image represents a square of about 15m x 15m (up to 90m x 90m) on the earth.  

Put another way, the satellite can only differentiate between things on the ground that are at least 15m apart (or, if less resolution, 90m apart). That’s not a lot of detail. 

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 ( 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

  • Imagine you’re within a 15m x 15m square – what in your surroundings might blend into your own image from TERRA’s perspective? What around you might TERRA miss by collapsing such a distance? 
  • Think about how you might differentiate yourself from the rest of the image TERRA captures. 

Post your artwork online using the hashtag #studiosundayyqr!

Studio Activity

Create a three-dimensional collage to explore any details surrounding you that the satellite TERRA might miss. 


What you Need:

  • Pencil and paper 
  • Drawing materials 
  • Magazines, fliers, or other materials for collaging 
  • Glue 
  • Scissors
  • Recycled box or piece of paper


What you Do:

  • Watch the video that is part of the exhibition connecting thru grasses here: connecting thru grasses | CHRISTINA BATTLE (, or come see it in person at the MacKenzie Art Gallery from 5 December 2020 to 20 February 2021. 
  • Read the “Things to Think About, written by Christina Battle” and as suggested, make a list of things around you in a 15m by 15m square (or pick a location around your home as your 15square block. metre is about the size of your largest step. Think about: 
    • What is inside your home or wherever you are creating, hidden under a rooftop? 
    • The people that move through the 15 m square around you and what they are doing. 
    • The parts of nature also contained in your 15 m square- the animals, plants, fungi, and even the features of the land itself.