Category Archives: Maps

Open Land Art & Fact Team: Interactive Installation at DePaul


Mock up of the Open Land Art & Fact Team (O.L.A.F.T.) installation

The DePaul Institute for Nature & Culture is delighted to announce the upcoming installation of a new work of art on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus. Conceived by Chicago photographer Doug Fogelson, Openlands Artist-in-Residence 2015-16, and executed by Fogelson and the Open Land Art & Fact Team in collaboration with, O.L.A.F.T. will be installed at DePaul University in April, as an interactive workstation. In an initial proposal, Fogelson described the project as a “conceptual art intervention.” At this stage, the audience is integral to the work:

This is meant to be an interactive experience where participants are invited to read, inspect, and comment on the items in the shelves. The table has instructions with stickers and comment cards that participants can affix to the back of photographs in the bin and leave with the objects. Artifacts in [sealed] bags are assorted natural objects such as leaves or twigs and assorted refuse such as plastic packaging, [that] have been found in forest or prairie preserves. There are also white sheet printed documents with demographic and ecological information on the locations (Initial Proposal).

The installation will be hosted by DePaul’s John T. Richardson Library in conjunction with Earth Day programming and the April 19th visit to the University of New York Times best selling author, Jeff VanderMeer (McGowan South, Room 108, 6:30-8:30 pm). University leaders are delighted by the obvious topical connections between Fogeslon’s work and Vandermeer’s, as well as the aesthetic resonance of O.L.A.F.T. and VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy.


Fogelson collaborated with a team of artists, over the course of a year, to photograph and creatively survey eight Openland sites. Faculty and students from all colleges, schools, and disciplines are invited to visit the installation, examine the maps, photographs, and artifacts, and add their responses to the project. By interacting with this installation/social experiment, faculty and students will contribute to “meaningful public conversation about the relationship between humans and the spaces we occupy,” in effect co-creating a regional research project and work of art (Open Land Art & Fact Team: O.L.A.F.T. Proposal).

The installation will be located against the west wall on the second floor of the Richardson Library, near room 201, and will be accessible to faculty and students throughout the Spring semester.

More images here.

Lead Artist: Doug Fogelson
Installation: Open Land Art & Fact Team (O.L.A.F.T.)
Dates: April 1st – June 1st 2017.
Location: John T. Richardson Library,
2350 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614,
Second Floor, west wall, near Room 201


Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Literature, Maps, Objects



Margaret Walker

“with all illusion of completeness”

Source: home

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Maps, Uncategorized

Variations on a Seasonal Theme

KunwooKim.owl2 Friedrich_Owl
Owl cave.2
Wise Spirit


Owl by Kunwoo Kim

Owl by Caspar David Friedrich, from BLOUINARTINFO

Owl Cave Calendar/Map, from Welcome to Twin Peaks

Owl drawing by Thaneeya McArdle (colored by C. Skonik), from Day of the Dead Coloring Book

1 Comment

Filed under Animals, Art, Maps

The power of maps

by Lauren Umek

The technology that we have at our fingertips never ceases to amaze me. If I’m hungry, my phone can tell me where I can get a taco, or a slice of pizza. My phone can also pay for my coffee, allow me to communicate with friends and strangers via social networking sites, beep at me when I’m supposed to be somewhere and most importantly, tell me where I am and approximately how long it will take me to get to where I’m going. Google Maps is probably my favorite and most regularly used piece of technology.

Use of this technology is part of my daily life. I obsessively check traffic, route alternatives, train schedules and potential bike routes. In the summer, when my life is consumed by field work, traveling to various forest preserves in the Chicago Wilderness region, I use electronic maps to tell me which sites I can reasonably visit in a day and in which order. I can even record my location if my GPS batteries die unexpectedly, calculate the number of miles I’ve walked through the woods and estimate how much time I have to get data collected before the thunderstorms hit. Through my travels, I’ve found no technological tool more informative than maps. My family originates from Slovenia, an apparently obscure eastern European country. Thanks to advances in mapping technology and freeware, I can easily share the geography of the country as well as professional and amateur photos, satellite images and historical landuse patterns.

All of this however, describes the most fundamental and traditional use of maps. Where is X? Now, online mapping tools and real time GPS in mobile devices allows for much cooler uses. Some of my favorites, beyond my obsessive traffic checking on Google Maps include monitoring outdoor exercise (map my run, daily mile and the always inaccurate Nike+), nearby food and caffeine (Yelp, Starbucks App), and where my friends (or enemies) are spending their time (Four square, Facebook). Those in the market for a new apartment or home might also check out their new neighborhood’s walk score. Or, when I’m feeling guilty about city living, I’m reminded of this map, showing transportation energy usage as a whole, and per capita to help me get to sleep in my 6 flat building.

Now, as a graduate student studying the effects of invasive species and restoration on ecological processes in the Chicago region, I’m exploring just how useful maps can really be in displaying data. To the right is map I recently generated of predicted degradation. I’m reluctantly sharing this image at the risk of angering friends and colleagues “red” zones and am showing this map as what I think is an example of how ecological data can be attractively displayed spatially. This map, of what I’m calling “potential woodland degradation” was determined by multiplying predicted soil nitrogen availability (from 45 sites) by earthworm biomass and invasive woody species cover (from 15 sites) from subsampled woodlands along a management spectrum in the 4 counties shown. The colors, are determined using spatial interpolation, a GIS tool that allows you to mathematically model (or predict) values at unsampled locations based upon values at sampled points. As a disclaimer, since making this map, I’ve learned that I have far too few sample points to properly extrapolate values to this scale. However, in future posts, I hope to share more properly analyzed maps that display ecological data in a way that can facilitate regional management.

Fortunately, I’m not alone in becoming excited about the communication power and conservation potential of moderns mapping abilities. Just this past week, The Nature Conservancy announced the completion of a 30 year project to map their priority conservation areas across the United States. A screenshot of this map, focused around the Chicago area is to the left, but I encourage you to explore this resource for yourself and your area of interest here.

1 Comment

Filed under Maps, Urban Ecology