According to Andreas Suchantke, noted scholar of Steiner and Goethe, the conceptual jump from landscape as 'ecosystem' to landscape as 'organism' is the path to the right framework of observation. Claiming in his book, Eco-Geography: What We See When We Look at Landscapes, that the distinguishing features of an organism can be applied at the level of ecosystem, Suchantke informs us that "ecosystems are the environment, and when they are stable, all substances are caught up in the cycles of assimilation, excretion, and re-assimilation." Taking Suchantke's previous statement one step further, without excluding aspects of the non-living or non-organic world, we will arrive at a way to observe the balance and complexities of an electronically embedded ecosystem/network.
Suchantke believing that an ecosystem "feeds on water," proposes that any integrated system designed to provide for the flow of water, both in and out, will be a system sympathetic and open to other simultaneous processes. A system able to keep water moving through it, while monitoring its own use of that element, will be the self-aware organism. Such an organism will be able to change its behavior patterns, and augment its own physicality to align itself with climatic conditions.
The Ecosystem as Organism described by Suchantke includes the following processes: 1. Respiration (including the stream of CO2 emanating from soil as well as the large-scale exchange of oxygen). 2. Thermal Regulation (including the uptake of solar energy). 3. Nutrition (intake of substance from the environment). 4. Decomposition (morphologic and somatic balance). 5. Conservation. 6. Growth.
MOISTURE SITE AS ORGANISM
FLUVIAL SYSYEMS OF BENTON MACKAYE
Seeking out temporal markers within the physical landscape, MacKaye used such temporal notations to identify the various "elastic" boundary conditions of the site under observation. Seeing the Appalachian Trail as a “cross-environmental arrangement between several separate ecologies,” MacKaye envisioned the trail as a “differential filter” acting to organize the overlapping terrestrial and technological systems.
If MacKaye's protocols for the Appalachian Trail were based on timing
and patterns of connectivity, the codes of the MOISTURE project are much
the same. Even in the Mojave Desert, where the dynamics are slowed, the
infrastructural organism is designed specifically for the ephemeral land-modifications
carved into the 15-acre plot. And though not as intensive as one of Paolo
Soleri's megastructural Arcologies, the MOISTURE site is set-up for an
extended duration. Seen another way, the MOISTURE site is a layered, evolving
fluvial process engineering within the property parameters.
In the interaction of water with the solid earth, not only its dissolving
and grinding activity must be taken into account, but also its ability
to deposit and arrange substances.
MOISTURE is an activity in constant transition from physical artifacts to processes. The site is not an absolute, but instead a transforming space, decomposing and growing. Drying out extensively then hit by periodic rains.
MOISTURE is equal parts terrestrial infrastructure and landscape organism.
It is an example of composite engineering designed with attention paid
to the histories of land art, experimental desert agriculture, and rainwater
harvest. MOISTURE is an active process conceptually framed by extended
periods of time. The process, enacted from within the site's visual codes,
is one intertwined with the region. The history of poor land management
is realized and aligned with the technological codes in an effort to blend
the non-living and living into a time-based system designed to feed on