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Slipstreamkonza is an art/science research project that imagines carbon flux and field data on grassland photosynthesis as a semiotic aesthetic of the sublime. Concerning the sense of place and landscape, this work in progress paper thinks through problems of semiotic installation design and ‘big data.’

Slipstreamkonza addresses aesthetics of digital data expression of land as a breathing ecosystem. The time based data stream of carbon flux is interpreted as rhythmic, virtual expression of sound and image in spatial installation. The project takes form as photomontage prints, alongside the signification of carbon respiration data over a three month interval in 2001. The sound world designed from the data is mapped to photographs of the Konza prairie biological research station field observation machines, including the 'auto chamber.' 

At the Konza Prairie, since 1997, diurnal and annual data are collected as "eddy correlation" or "eddy covariant" flux measurements. From two of the sites, a located on the Rannels Ranch next to the Konza  field station, wireless net carries the live data online for collection and analysis. 


Konza is the Osage term for “south wind.” Like breath on a mirror, the metaphor of photosynthesis as konza suggests the evanescent imprint of an invisible and inaudible (at least on the human scale) dynamic. How to generate a cybernetic process-space that progressively and recursively self reveals, or ‘voices’ itself? Slipstreamkonza exists at a distance from, and following behind, and layering into, the semiotic landscape of konza itself, that is, the dynamic, time-based measurement and interpretation of the phenomenon of carbon respiration.

Jay Ham, PhD, agronomist, assisted with data and physical access to the prairie. Nick Fox-Gieg and Henry Warwick, new media artists, assisted with sonic transpositions from the carbon respiration data set. 

 Slipstreamkonza photomontage prints were awarded the James D. Phelan Award in Printmaking from the San Francisco Arts Commission in 2003. The work was selected by Constance Lewallen, then of the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive. Sonification videos were shown at Stony Brook University in 2008, as part of Sonic Residues, an exhibition curated by Margaret Schedel, Zabet Patterson, and others. An academic paper on Slipstream Konza, was presented and published for COSIGN 2004 (on computational semiotics), Split, Croatia, in 2004. Download "Slipstreamkonza Semiotics: Towards a Telemimetic Sublime in the Data Landscape." 

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