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All science and art students spend a summer at the University of New Mexico Sevilleta Field Station, where they participate in journal club, seminars, and other summer REU activities. Art REU students are encouraged to participate in field work and data collection with REU students in the sciences. Final projects are presented during an on-site symposium at end of summer. Projects are also shared on the the Sevilleta REU website.

Program Status: Ongoing

Sarah Rose, 2018 Art REU Student

The Normalization of Simulated Nature

“Digitally simulated landscapes allow for experiential learning, but they also remove us from the outdoor spaces that surround us. To investigate this relationship, I project digitally rendered flora onto legally protected land and document the space using digital photography. These layered images make it challenging at times to recognize what is real and what is rendered.” – Sarah Rose, Collective Terrain

The Normalization of Simulated Nature (#2) Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, 2018. Archival inkjet print by Sarah Rose

The Normalization of Simulated Nature (#2) Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, 2018. Archival inkjet print by Sarah Rose
Credit: Sarah Rose

Simulated nature can exist in the form of virtual reality, social media, animation, and even gaming. This project investigates the normalization of simulated nature as it exists in society, especially for younger generations. Two questions are posed to observers: 1) How can technology be improved to shorten the distance between people and environmental issues? And 2) How can online empathy in the form of likes, shares, and donations be redirected towards exchanges with nature and interpersonal relationships?

The Resilient Cholla

The purpose of this piece was to magnify an ecological relationship that is sometimes easily overlooked. The cholla tree (Cylindropuntia imbricata) was selected to encourage viewers to consider that even the most inconspicuous species or natural processes have complex connections to an ecosystem. To investigate this concept further, the cholla’s relationship with two mutualist ant species was translated into cyanotype prints (a 19th century photographic medium). Prints were made with ink illustrations, flowers from the Sevilleta NWF, and black cardstock cut outs. The final product illustrates the “key players” in the cholla’s interaction with the ecosystem, its characteristics, and the environmental context.

Project Status: Completed