By Way of The Upward Look

Pentwater, Michigan (2012)

✳ Collaborator: Paul Richardson

Regional educational media, field guide, travel guide, audio book

Samples of collaborative regional research: a hyperlocal Field Guide; a taxonomical record of birds; and an audiobook narrating the life story of a local legend. Mary compiled and produced an illustrated guide to exploration: highlighting local museums, neighbors, long walks, longer ways home, and buried treasures. Paul studied the wildlife within a concentrated half-acre and created a microcosmic field guide to the birds. He also recorded an audiobook of work by a local author whose legacy, though an enormous part of regional lore, has barely moved beyond the small town where he lived and worked. By making these gestures of appreciation, a small world of knowledge becomes a platform for engaging with community audiences. This work is essential because it constructs an idiosyncratic archive of shared local knowledge that is unreachable through contemporary technology-driven interfaces.  

We used accessible forms of media and slow investigation to build a library of place. Working separately but together, we sought out experiences that were unique to the very particular space we were sharing. In the nature of the dérive, we made ourselves present and accumulated information based on a whim, a wander, and a wondering. All ordinary becomes extraordinary with a beginner’s eyes.