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Confluences in Landscape Legibility

September 27, 2017 | Todd Gilens

Installation of Sidewalks are Riverbeds, Reno, Nevada 2016. Photo by Konah Zebert.

Todd Gilens is a visual artist making site-integrated projects that combine familiarity and novelty for urban audiences. Projects develop around existing physical structures, which become metaphors for broader themes such as sunlight and shade, handwriting, or population dynamics. Concerned about the diminishing role of field work in the natural sciences, and of environmental literacy in general, he has engaged researchers through residencies at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest and the University of California’s ecological field stations. Tributary streams in the Sierra Nevada of California have been the focus of Gilens’s recent work, as drivers of the massive, dispersed infrastructure systems that facilitate modern urban lifestyles in the region. While at Dumbarton Oaks he is studying the articulation of useful, polluted and sacred forms of water in ancient and modern times. Gilens holds a masters degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Design and teaches ecology classes at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco.