Conversations about Landscape: The Art of the Survey

Human Influence on the Atmosphere and Bay Shore

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 • 6:00–8:00 p.m.
Exploratorium, Pier 15
Free; RSVP required*
All Ages

Join artist Amy Balkin and Matt Coolidge of the Center for Land Use Interpretation to discuss two projects that survey the transformation of our environment by human activity. Balkin will present The Atmosphere: A Guide, a poster-essay exhibited in the Bay Observatory Gallery that depicts various human influences on the sky and their accumulated traces, whether chemical, narrative, spatial, or political. Visually referencing the Cloud Code Chart, a tool for cloud identification, the Guide organizes the atmosphere by theme and in layers from sea level to the exosphere. Coolidge will present images from Around the Bay, an aerial survey along the shores of the San Francisco Bay, commissioned by the Oakland Museum of California. This three-hour video landscan reveals paradoxical landscapes that juxtapose remnants of military and civilian activities, built and natural environments, and residential and recreational uses.

Amy Balkin is an artist whose work focuses on how humans create, interact with, and impact the social and material landscapes they inhabit.

Matthew Coolidge is the founder and director of the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), an educational nonprofit focused on increasing the collective understanding of the built American landscape.

Conversations about Landscape brings together practitioners from the fields of geography, ecology, environmental arts and sciences, policy, and design to grapple with contemporary landscape questions. Speakers present their work and engage each other and the audience in conversation. The series is staged in the Exploratorium’s Bay Observatory Gallery, which explores environmental change in the Bay Area and beyond. An informal reception before each talk offers time to explore exhibits and engage with the speakers, Observatory staff, and other guests.

The series is funded by the Coastal Conservancy and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

*There is no cost to attend the Conversations about Landscape program, but you must RSVP to reserve a seat. To RSVP, call 415.528.4646.


Left photo: Ship tracks off the California Coast, NASA Earth Observatory/ Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

Right photo: Point San Pedro, San Francisco Bay, image courtesy CLUI