Student Research: Alisa Blatter

  • Alisa Blatter. tree carving, detail. Work completed and recorded March 9, 2017.
    Alisa Blatter. tree carving, detail. Work completed and recorded March 9, 2017.
  • Alisa Blatter. tree carving, tools of mediation.
    Alisa Blatter. tree carving, tools of mediation.
  • Alisa Blatter. tree carving, process. Work completed and recorded March 9, 2017.
    Alisa Blatter. tree carving, process. Work completed and recorded March 9, 2017.
  • Alisa Blatter. tree carving, tactile detail. Work completed March 9, 2017, and recorded April 10, 2017.
    Alisa Blatter. tree carving, tactile detail. Work completed March 9, 2017, and recorded April 10, 2017.
  • Alisa Blatter. tree carving, tactile ridge rubbing. Work completed March 9, 2017, and recorded April 10, 2017.
    Alisa Blatter. tree carving, tactile ridge rubbing. Work completed March 9, 2017, and recorded April 10, 2017.
  • Alisa Blatter. tree carving, landscape encounter. Work completed and recorded March 9, 2017.
    Alisa Blatter. tree carving, landscape encounter. Work completed and recorded March 9, 2017.

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Name: Alisa Blatter
Title: transposing a tree: a phenomenological account
Year: Spring 2017 (independent study)
Adviser: Rod Barnett, professor and chair of landscape architecture

The goal of this project is to investigate the territory of the tree as a phenomenological landscape. I use an angle grinder to make a hollow in the living material of a pin oak in the Washington University campus allée, which would be felled soon after. The operation is grounded in experimental veins of cultural geography and archaeology that use performative landscape practices, specifically those involving movement and feel, to foreground the body in the revelation of the human and nonhuman world. The embodiment of the process makes for a lived experience of the material chronology of a tree, its otherness/closeness, and the tightly interlocked grains and folds of its matter—haptic exchanges mediated by a tool across time. The outcome is a kind of intimacy with a tree. The resultant concavity of its substance is a subtly evolving processual artifact, and the accompanying essay a translation of the practice.