Land Arts Listserv: Constructural Theory and Land Arts

First, second and third order constructs of the constructal design of a cooling system.
Coolant, cooled material and heated fluid are respectively shown in blue, yellow and red.

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under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

"...if a flow system (e.g. river basin, vascularized tissue, city traffic) is endowed with sufficient freedom to change its configuration, the system exhibits configurations that provide progressively better access routes for the currents that flow." --Adrian Bejan, Gilbert W. Merkx, Constructal Theory of Social Dynamics

Today's Land Arts Listserv saw a flurry of comments in response to Andrea Gomez's post about her email exchange with Adrian Bejan on "Constructal Theory" and its potential relevance to Land Arts. The theory predicts animal design and geophysical flows and makes evolution a part of physics.

Here's Andrea's post and responses from Bill Gilbert, Chris Taylor and Bill Fox:

Andrea Gomez:
Last week, I wrote to Adrian Bejan, a professor at Duke, about He has developed a way of understanding design in nature which he calls Constructal Theory. There are many parallels in his vision and in much of the landarts work. He agreed and asked me to make his
website known to those on the listserve. I've copied his response to me below because I'd rather he explained his thinking. I will add to it, though, that people in all disciplines, from engineering to poetry, find Constructal theory applicable--a wide umbrella, much like landarts.

Adrian Bejan:
"Thank you very much for making this connection! This work is superb, and a lot closer to my thinking than I have written yet. Basically, all of design in nature (including animal design) is flow with configuration, and that means scouring the earth's crust. Many of the images in this book and the other presentations are about the scouring---with the constructal law, in them I see the flow designs. Please tell Chris Taylor about the work being done with the constructal law, plus I think this connection would be fabulous."
Andrea Gomez

Bill Gilbert:
Many thanks for the link to Adrian and the Constructal Theory site.
At UNM we are expanding the Land Arts program into a new Art & Ecology area with a close relationship to the sciences. I will have to spend some time getting up to speed with Constructal Theory.

In my own work, I have been collaborating with Biologist and head of Sustainability Studies Bruce Milne here at UNM. We recently completed a proposal for a fractal based, native species planting design for Lucy Lippard's Weather Report exhibition in Boulder.

I look forward to an expanded conversation.
Bill Gilbert
Lannan Chair
Land Arts of the American West

Chris Taylor:
Hi Andrea,

Thanks for this great addition to the list. I look forward to spending some time with the resources on The first thought that popped was how this seemed like a combination of Juhani Pallasmaa's _Animal Architecture_ and Don Kunze's "Boundary Lanuage". (Curious to see the the connection with Adrian's collaborator to Penn State. . .)
During recent Q & A sessions at the New School and Yale the question came up about specific linkages between Land Arts and science. While our work has definitely been open to those connections for some time, there remains much opportunity to make the relationships more fertile (in all directions).
c h r i s t a y l o r
College of Architecture – Texas Tech University – LUBBOCK

Bill Fox:
Hi All,
The linkages among art, geography, and systems science--and how those transdisciplinary arcs give rise to land arts as a general mode of operation--are exactly the subjects for the book I've started work on this year, The Art of the Anthropocene. It starts with Alexander von Humboldt's discovery of isotherms and the invention of ecology at the beginning of the 19th century, and his influence on painters such as Church and Turner, then through early formations of ecology (Marsh, et al) and photographic typologies--and then onto minimalism and Arte Povera (both with roots in systems science) and into earthworks, land arts, and climate science.
Sort of a tangle at the moment, but the links are there and robust, and it's not surprising that people would inquire about the relationships among the sciences and land arts.

William L. Fox
Director, Center for Art + Environment

Nevada Museum of Art

160 West Liberty Street
Reno, Nevada 89501

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