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Spring 2018

Litorum Journal

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Litorum Journal Litorum is a land vernacular arranged in print and online by students in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota. We observe edges, behaviors, int[er][ra]sections, introspections, surroundings. We speculate theories, assumptions, understandings, alternatives, choices, systems, possibilities. We celebrate peoples, biota, collaborations, juxtapositions, plurals, states of being.

Team Editors-in-Chief Isaac Hase Anya Moucha Mattie Wong Editorial + Layout Dakota Carlson Anna Jursik Alexis Kautzman William Linscott William Metcalf Virginia Torzewski Rachel Valenziano Jiangchen Zhu

Acknowledgements The Litorum team thanks Jen Krava, Karen Lutsky, Janaya Martin, Kristine Miller, and Amanda Smoot of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota. We also thank Megan Marsnik of Southwest High School, Lucas Winzenburg of Bunyan Velo, and our friend and collaborator Aubrey Tyler. For inquires, contact litorumjournal@gmail.com litorumjournal.squarespace.com Litorum is printed locally by Bolger in Minneapolis on Forest Stewardship Council certified, 30% postconsumer paper stock.

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Xavier Tavera : Telling Stories Rhea Strom Through Photography I was lucky enough to interview Latino photographer Xavier Tavera about his work and learn about his life, along with the support of my older brother. Tavera, who is based in Minneapolis, is a sentient photographer who takes portraits of the Latino community, challenging stereotypes and exposing viewers to issues on immigrant culture. His recent projects have captured the lives of Latino families, circus clowns, and AMVets. Each photograph he takes tells a story unique to the people captured in the images. To Tavera, photography is magic. With it, he is inspired and inspires others.

RS What stories are you trying to tell through your photographs?

RS How has living in Minneapolis affected the way you view yourself and the Latino Community?

XT Essentially, most of the work is portraiture. So, I’m trying to tell individual stories. And right now, the majority of the work that I do is about the Latino community. I’m doing several projects and one of them is at the border. In January of this year I went from San Diego and Tijuana to El Paso, driving [and] photographing. And in May I retook [photos] from El Paso all the way to Brownsville. So I did the whole border driving, and that was super interesting. I need to go there probably three more times to really grasp what it is. So my focus is a lot on those stories, of you know, border towns, border issues, the political issues about the border, about the wall and about the people that are there living on both sides that all of a sudden have this man made wound, this man made scar, as a border and how they cope with that. How do they go from one place to the other? How do they [deal] with families on both sides?

XT Well, being here in Minnesota all of a sudden and being looked at as “the other,” as the Mexican and as a Latino and as an immigrant… how do I cope with that? How do I reflect on that? Being in Minneapolis, as a progressive city, and trying to be so inclusive, it’s interesting.

RS What are some surprising things you have learned through your experiences with the people you’ve photographed?

XT I’m a photographer, and I’m filmmaker. It has so many shapes. Most of it is documentary, in a very specific way of documenting things. But it’s also political. Even when I’m photographing landscapes, it’s very political. And most of it I think has a very strong human component of communication.

XT That’s one of the things photography has, and has given me over and over again. One of the projects that I just finished is the one of the veterans, the Latino, Mexican and Chicano veterans. When I grew up, my dad was a leftist, and he was an activist and in student movements and whatnot. In Mexico he was chased by the armed forces, constantly. So I grew up with with a father who was really cautious with the military and stuff. So coming here and talking to them face to face, it was a challenge. I had all these preconceptions on who they were. But sitting down with them and learning that they are completely anti-war, that they know industrialist’s motives for war and politics about war better than I do, it’s like wow. These people are not just blind and going to war blindly to kill people. These are human beings from our community that were put in this position, and suddenly having to serve their country in a certain way. And talking to them over and over again for three years I have come to realize that there’s a lot in common. With all the [Latino] farmers in Wisconsin, even the cholos in the street.

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You go to other parts of the country where the mentality is completely different. It has shaped me also because maybe if I had stayed in Mexico or gone somewhere else I would photograph completely different things. I was photographing dance troops in Mexico City, in black and white. And then I moved here, and with the help of a wonderful teacher I started to see color, and suddenly everything changes. And so, the place is gonna have a big influence. RS

How would you describe your art form?

RS I watched a video that says the circus has interested you since you were very young, why is that? What is the impact of the circus on your work? XT So, there are ultimately layers to that. I liked a lot, since I was a kid, the idea of the mask and the facade of a clown. You don’t really know the person, you only know the character that they are playing. And I love that! And that goes back historically in theater - the sad mask, the happy mask - they can interchange that mask so quickly. And one of my good friends is a clown. And knowing him personally and knowing how he can change that mask, even when he’s dressed, he can change that mask in a matter of seconds. So I did a small documentary on him.

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About his life, and you know, it’s very short. So I had to follow him while he performed and all that. So I was at his home, and he was putting on all his makeup and b****ing about all this stuff like life, and immigration, and his health and his adolescent kids and whatnot. And he would get into the car and he would keep on going with all this stuff. And we get to the venue and it was incredible how he switched! I couldn’t have even perceived it. This sad, grumpy guy will change to a guy who is making everybody laugh. And he was having fun doing that! How quickly he did that was amazing, and when he finished, [laughs] we would get back in the car and he would go right back to complaining. It was interesting. RS Tell me about your experience relocating from Mexico to Minnesota. XT It wasn’t like I decided, “Oh, I’m going to go to Minnesota. That’s the place I want to be!” No, it was all of a sudden. I was studying law, and a company from Texas hired me to do industrial photography in Houston. I moved there, and I was going to move there for two months. So I dropped all my studies and I moved there. When my two months were about to expire, the company said that they were gonna move to Minnesota, that they were going to move the headquarters there, and they were going to build a big facility in Grand Rapids. They asked if I wanted to come. They said they could get my papers arranged and pay for my school as well as give me a salary. I said yeah!

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I moved [to Minneapolis] in September of ‘96, and a year after that they went bankrupt. And they didn’t pay any tuition, and all of a sudden I was left here. Everybody fled. They left. I continued to study at the Minneapolis Culture Department for two years. But the debt, it was overwhelming. It was drowning me, and so I had to drop out. So it was not a plan. [I stayed because] I found who is now my wife, and I found that in this town the district communities are very tight. They are very competitive but they are also very supportive. So I stayed. RS What are your fears? When you were a kid? Now? XT So, I grew up in Mexico City and for the longest time, my fears were like any other kid. You know, you fear a bad grade and the repercussions of that. You fear not being accepted or popular. But when I was about twelve or thirteen I got mugged. And I haven’t felt that fear, ever. Some guy pulled a gun on me. And I’m thinking, “s***, this might be it.” They took a little plastic watch that I used to have. And I remember the realization that it was real. It wasn’t something I was imagining. I’m a fan of the movies and I’ve been watching movies all my life, but this thing is real. This piece of metal is up against my head. Now, I’m more afraid of the greed of people. And it can be a politician and it can be a drug dealer. And they want more, and more and more. And the repercussions of that, that frightens me a lot.

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Some Places Beholding*

Tyler Snell

What struck me was the beauty of the place. This is not what I expected from a site of intensive resource extraction, “restored” as it may be. The vast prairie, gifted its vastness from the lumbering fog and rain. The distant mountains, in reality the massive walls of the retired open pit mine. I dared to think of it as sublime. The photographer Michael Light has said that after the explosion of the atomic bomb, the landscape sublime shifted from forces entirely beyond the human, to a creation of the human hand. Here was a human-made landscape sublime masquerading as the inhuman. But in this place the distinction became arbitrary. This was not a masquerade. It was a collaboration. For all of the violence wrought by our hands, we are not the only ones who can do things.

The landscape architecture students talked about how this restored native prairie wasn’t actually native to this place. Too far north. It wouldn’t be here if people didn’t put it here. But soon, it won’t be too far north. As the climate changes the plants move with it. If they can. Soon, this prairie will be native here. For a while. The irony of a native prairie restoration in a place where the prairie is not native is humorous. And the subsequent irony of how the northward trajectory of bioregions will make this place a native climate for this non-native prairie. And how those plants are always moving regardless of us. Just not so fast and violently. We like to pretend that there is stasis without us. I was eager to learn about all the plants, even if they were interlopers. The landscape architecture students knew all about them. Some of them weren’t interlopers. They told me all about them, and I forgot. I liked the brown one.

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*Per a signed agreement, several images from this piece cannot be shared publicly without permission and so have been redacted. Permission was requested, but was denied.

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I didn’t think it’d be so ferocious. The waves splashed frighteningly high, crashing onto the rocks and onto the boardwalk and onto me. I was drawn to the edge, the border where the waves might reach or might not. I wanted to experience a small piece of their mutual world. The wind, the water, the rocks. I, a newcomer, apparently unimportant. 2017-18

Further down the shore jutting out on a pier a lighthouse stood. But the pier was flooded, the fence shut and locked. We couldn’t go to it. So I sloshed in the water, glad my boots kept the water out. Not that their inability to do so would have changed my mind. Over the sides the water flew. I watched, and was worried. 5


I was confused about where we were but then I saw where we were before. Over there was the lighthouse and the lift bridge that lets all the boats through that carry the resources that we are concerned about. And I think that was the hotel where we stayed.

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The fog heaved in and out, making it sometimes impossible to see and sometimes easier to see, and over there sometimes were the multitude of mysterious lights, with a clear but ineffable purpose. Some sort of refinery. A place where they take things and make things that I might get to have. Or something like that.

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This one was not like the others. The pits that we saw. That the women from the mining company told us about. It was further away, shrouded in the gloom and the fog.

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This one didn’t seem like a hole in the ground, it seemed like mountains of rock and earth. They showed us some of these in other places. Mountains fashioned from that which was removed, but, being unwanted and uncared for— merely waste from the great work at hand, not that which is destined for transmutation—cast aside into great heaps.

Great heaps sublime in the fog. Like the pits wrought by the same hands. But this one was different. Unseen. Unspoken for. It doesn’t seem quite right to assume that’s a bad thing.

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Went to the reservoir to watch for birds, to see a loon or kittiwake maybe, at least some migrant ducks. Nearly empty, one grebe one goose, lake frothed with white-capped chop from prairie wind.   Disappointment turns to melancholy as alone slowly I walked the dam’s stone face, drought having lowered water’s edge below the rocks.   Just there, in that little strip of beach between rocks and water, walking with me, was a lone pipit.   A pipit whose pace and posture seemed to mimic my own, both curious about the shore and perhaps both a little lonely.   Afforded many good looks at pipit, and it of me,  I began to wonder of this relationship.   While very glad to see pipit, to enjoy our shoreline walk, we must soon part ways.   Always I will accept pipit’s visit as it passes through, and someday hope pipit accepts me where it lives.   Wouldn’t it be nice to live where pipit lives, or for pipit to live where I live?   Deep I know that I might not do well where pipit lives, nor might pipit do well here.   But I will smile when remembering that walk with pipit.

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Thomas E. Labedz

Serene, Shaunna Berg

Pipit

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Columbine

Prairie Spring

From a narrow crack in the front sidewalk my favorite columbine persists. One of few remaining on the property started as stray seed from the flower bed. Sun scorched and trod upon never more than four inches in height and probably not a dozen leaves. Overcoming these obstacles every third year or so it manages a blossom normal in every sense. Extraordinarily beautiful given the circumstances.

Prairie spring Is not thrust forward fully formed.

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It is a long measured process evidenced by a lark’s hesitant first notes on a cold dawn. And buds of pasque flower nudging through remnants of late snow.

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Residuals : Regan Golden + TEN x TEN

LJ

Residuals, a collaboration between Regan Golden and TEN x TEN was on display from September to December 2017 in the University of Minnesota Architecture & Landscape Architecture Library.

How did you come to create this exhibition?

TXT Regan Golden is a longtime friend of Maura’s and they have collaborated on projects in the past including a mini-golf hole for the Walker Art Center’s Artist Design Mini-Golf in 2008. For this show, we identified shared themes and overlaps between our collective work. We organized the show around these overlaps, allowing the two bodies of work to have a dialogue. Our practice and Regan’s work investigate the challenges of changing landscapes and explore how to document liminal urban spaces and how the materials and plants (weeds) that gather there tell a story about that place.

In this interview, Maura Rockcastle and Ross Altheimer, Co-founders of TEN x TEN, and Jessica Rossi-Mastracci share how the experiments and investigations on display in Residuals tie back to how TEN x TEN imagines new ways of working and new possibilities for design.

We have held a space in our practice for “experiments” to explore methods of working that are process-based and iterative. Our shared interests in exploring modes of seeing, documenting and making are one of the foundations of the practice. The invitation for a collaborative show was a perfect opportunity for TEN x TEN to showcase some of the investigations and experiments we incorporate into our design process. One of the sites we had been documenting for several months is right across the street from our office in the North Loop. It is the old 1884 Commutator Brass Foundry building surrounded by a 1.6-acre lot,

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The site was a perfect test plot for the Residuals exhibition because of its proximity to our office and the potential for a set of experiments to inform the ongoing design process. The landscape approach for the project is responsive to the site’s history and its remnant work yard past, recalling stacks of timbers and piles of ingots that fed the brass and aluminum foundry in the new proposed design features. The character of the site as we found it had a grittiness about the materials and a “wildness” full of emergent vegetation. Those initial readings inspired the spatial organization of the site and the overall scale of plaza, and led to the development of custom precast and timber furnishings and planted landforms.

LJ

TXT We had a lot of conversations about how to structure our approach at the beginning: How do we structure a process for these experiments? How do we do it together? How often should we come together to share independent explorations? We set a series of workshop dates on our calendar and visited the site together or individually as needed. All six TEN x TEN employees participated and we identified a few methods of documentation such as tactile impressions in clay tablets, a photographic inventory of material details, a photographic inventory of emergent vegetation, material collection and charcoal rubbings. We had bins of rotting wood and metal pieces and ferns in the office all summer. The plaster casts of the 4”x4” clay tablets became the primary tool for a series of investigations. We

LJ How did these investigations influence the design or your design process? TXT While we were preparing for the exhibition, the project was in the Design Development phase. We used these experiments to further test the materiality, scale, and detail of the site elements, finishes and plantings. This investigation led us to material research about concrete, aggregate and water as were looking at concrete finishes. The study prompted the question: how can we think about surfaces and materials to facilitate change and decay over time? The experiments helped us explore the material details including: subtleties in the paving patterns and textures, the articulation of site furnishings, using metal transitions between materials,

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We had an opportunity in the landscape to highlight the authenticity, grittiness, and industrial character of this rapidly changing neighborhood, which was enthusiastically supported by the

What does that look like in your office?

each selected 3-4 plaster casts in rounds – each of us choosing casts that we would eventually establish a set of questions for and experiments around. Some of the casts were very tactile and textured, some were flat and subtle. Each cast held implications about time and decay, referencing different moments in the Foundry’s past.

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City and North Loop Neighborhood Association. We decided to use Residuals as an opportunity to explore a rigorous set of questions and experiments inspired by the site that we could fold back into the design.

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lwith the iconic leaning smoke stack on the corner of 1st Street N and 2nd Ave N. We were commissioned, along with Snow Kreilich Architects, to design a series of public spaces for a new development surrounding the Foundry.

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embracing wild and emergent vegetation in our planting palette, and using a mix of existing materials (stone, wood timber, concrete, metal) to explore scale and grain. The experiments informed both the larger design interventions and the details. There is a giant transformer in the plaza that we began to see as an opportunity to create a tactile screen that could become a catalyst for a material transformation over time. One of the experiments tested how to control rust patterns by intentionally manipulating the surface of a metal panel (denting, scraping, folding) so that water flows created a weathered pattern over time. We also used the experiments to investigate the development of our precast and wood benches. Our questions included: Can the process of fabrication and casting, drawing from the historic use of the Foundry, be used? Can we integrate multiple materials into the benches that register time at different scales or that create a vulnerability that will catalyze change over time? Can the benches draw inspiration from the steel muntin joints from the original windows or hold small 12

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brass objects in the cast concrete similar to the pieces that would have been made here decades ago? LJ Are you planning to use any of these experimentation methods in future design projects? TXT Yes! We imagine that for each project we would start with a series experiments and set the method for translation into our design. The specifics of the experimentation process would look slightly different for each project and would respond to unique conditions of the site, context and conditions. The Foundry experiments were driven by the site context at a finite scale with the goal of capturing history, decay, time, natural and industrial processes. A different site would suggest unique modes and methods. We are interested in processes of exploration that create a tension between what we thought we knew and what might be discovered; processes that open up potential for design work that we could never have intuited. We want experiments to create a feedback loop between

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future potential and the site itself. The Foundry project went on hold a couple times, which made it different from the typical project timeframe (much slower) and we have the luxury of visiting as often as we liked. This made it apparent to us that we need to build more time for being on site into our project schedules and budgets. It was extremely valuable to take time and be thoughtful in a place to conduct meaningful observations. The casting method and the series of investigations that arose from each was beneficial for our practice to see the value of iteration and to discuss how ideas get stronger as they evolve. These studies unleashed many possibilities for future transformations. LJ What was it like to have the experiments read as an art installation? TXT Having the work read as an art installation elevates the practice of process-based work and Issue 0


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demonstrates that it can be both critical and generative as a beginning point and end product. It places value on the critical link between process and ideation, and extends the possibilities of where design emerges from. The exhibition allowed us to bring our investigations into the same professional space where we discuss the possibilities of a project, nail down a concept diagram, or develop a construction detail. It was freeing not to have a concrete “outcome” needed, which allowed for more experimentation and ultimately led to a better design for the Foundry site.

TXT We invited our clients and collaborators to the exhibition. The architects we are collaborating with on the Foundry site (Snow Kreilich Architects) saw the work throughout the process and were excited to see it presented in a gallery context. Residuals helped us deepen the dialogue about underlying themes embedded within our work. This work might be harder to understand than traditional representational methods (drawings, plans, diagrams and photographs), we use it to generate and explore ideas more so than communicate outcomes.

It also pushed us to consider the potential for critical theory and dialogue around experimentation.

We received a new commission shortly after we completed the exhibition and we like to think that they were attracted to our experimental, sitebased process. The client is a working artist and is interested in open ended themes in their work and their conception of landscape. We sent them the exhibition catalogue and the work resonated with them. They even quoted one of our investigations in an email about their project aspirations.

Landscape architects do that in school and we have always felt an absence of that conversation in practice. Organizing the materials also showed us a direct parallel between the importance of representation and being clear about what abstractions mean, whether we’re preparing for a gallery setting or trying to convince clients of the best way forward. LJ Do you show these experiments to your clients? Do they help you share your process with non-designers?

With our new client, these experiments have become a beginning point for a conceptual/ intellectual relationship. As this work gets more expansive and further integrated into the projects, we hope more clients will come to us for that sensibility and as something they also value. If we don’t test new methods of communicating with people, of finding design inspiration, of triggering our (or our clients) imaginations, then we’re never going to change the way that we work.

FIRM BIO

FIRM PROCESS

TEN x TEN is a landscape architecture and urban design practice grounded by a shared curiosity and passion for experimentation and agency. We collaborate with visionary clients and teams to cocreate immersive future-focused landscapes that will adapt to social, economic and environmental transformation. Capitalizing on creative alliances between fields, we operate comfortably within a shifting set of disciplinary boundaries. TEN x TEN designs for resilience and flexibility, monitoring what makes places thrive, adapt and be loved long after they are built.

Our practice tests, questions, and responds to the magic latent in each site. Our work challenges two worlds: the normative environment of professional practice and the unconventional investigation of transformation. We seek answers to seemingly simple yet critical questions: What do we see? How do we imagine? How do we organize? How can we document the complexity of a site and deconstruct it through various modes of seeing and making? Our answers take various forms from installations, castings and collage to video, photography and drawing. This way of working starts a dialogue about possibility and establishes unexpected points of departure for future transformation. On the edge of art and science, our studies document change: mold, decay, growth, competition, failure and resilience. Cause and effect become evident; the work is activism and initiative in its own right. We first ask the questions, then frame the issues and experiment to discover possibilities.

We design for people and habitats. We design to catalyze a smarter, more inspired future. Our practice explores spaces, materials, and ecologies at all scales. With extensive experience working across the disciplines of architecture, landscape and art, our work pays careful attention to craft, beauty and the various levels of temporality inherent in any landscape. Our approach elevates the everyday human experience through a deep respect for the authenticity of people, culture and ecology. 14

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The Creation of IT and Other Concerns: A Manifesto

Mary Dahlman Begley Adam Rosenthal

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We exist in an environment we can neither detect nor alter. This environment habituates the modern human with unrelenting stimulation controlled by unseen authors. We are forced into a state of mindless ferocity, propelled by the lust for more stimulation. Through production or subversion of cultural artifacts, elevated heads established an anti-environment. The surrealists, the punks, the cyber-pioneers - we thank them for making visible the environment of their time. A linear movement - environment turned anti, invisible now seen, all thanks to revolutionary characters - Saviors of the past reality.

In our current environment, autonomous artifacts create themselves or obscure the fact of their creation. Operating like g*d, omnipresent, omnipotent, a simulacrum complete to the degree that renders impossible the ability to imagine anything outside, anything anti. We cannot know or will not be told the ways in which our environment is constructed. That which is invisible is by nature (or rather anti-nature or perhaps nature+) autonomous. Visible worlds offer distinct authors - the Saviors of earlier Revolutions. An author may be rendered anonymous, their creation seen as autonomous, a result of the continuous ebb and flow of sensory derangement.

The linear movement of environment to anti, as outlined by the prophet Marshall McLuhan, has evolved. We believe that accelerating consumer culture re-appropriates antienvironments into environment. The former iconoclast is re-packaged and sold back to the apathetic and hungry via tote-bags and bumper stickers, edgy advertisement, fast fashion, and the all-consuming interface. Like the rising waters of a flood, the oceanic environment reclaims those anti-environments that have momentarily surfaced. What was made visible returns to invisible, in all its innocuous proliferation. The loop is complete: perfect circles, unbroken and invincible.

We accept our Saviors as authors of the anti-environment - they called us to interact with environments of the past, to notice and participate in their forced obsolescence. To remove the fish from its bowl requires a grasping hand. The environment requires no interaction, but in order to remain undetected may present interpassive (as opposed to interactive) distractions. ŽiŞek attributes the interpassive aspect of culture in part to the requirement of modern human to remain engaged within the environment. Interpassive environments presented in full to us by invisible, seemingly autonomous forces. There are, certainly, mistakes. The network seizes up and systems fail, an accident of physics leaves an island of awareness exposed for brief admiration or contemplation. Antienvironment doesn’t always require authorship. Those too weak or too apathetic to sail an unruly sea in search of truth must wait patiently for a glitch, a mindless Savior.

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III.

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Soup is environment. Mundane and drab, a cultural artifact consumed by many hungry and apathetic mouths. C*mpbell’s Soup Can began, authored, visible, an antienvironment, declaring itself outside of the expected. A new ready made meal, packaged up real slick, just in time for the ur-acceleration epoch of in the newly industrialized global reality. The artifact swiftly turned environment, invisible in its ubiquity, creator-divorced and consumer approved. Prominent placement in supermarkets of the mid-century and a snappy gold medal jacket funneled this manifestation of passive consumption into the invisible pantry of every happy consumer’s home. A Revolutionary (or at least stylish and convincing jackass posing as Savior) pointed loudly at the Soup Can disturbing its invisible slumber. Heads turned, and the environment was made anti. Reincarnated, the soup can re-emerged like a beacon of provocation, but the silent, relentless machine remained active. Anti-environment turned environment again, the culture consumed, the shocked and scared fish plunged back into passive oblivity. Culture hungry corporation re-plagiarized W*rhol’s work and fed it to the still hungry, still apathetic consumers. Insatiable appetites ravaging their own salvation.

Waiting for glitch or Savior is the expected response of habituated environment -blind individual in our reality. The environment is invisible and ubiquitous, its boss and creator shadowy and foreboding, invisible fingers scaffolding interface. Our reality pleasantly distracted by interpassive narratives piped directly into our bloodstreams. Our effort seems superfluous: someone else will expose the bad guy, he will trip up, and/or is he really all that bad in the first place. Knowing now as we do about the magnetic influences drawing visible and anti back into invisible and environment, the effort required to escape the cycle seems superhuman (but our Saviors made it look so easy!).

Such is the tragic (or at least mildly depressing) narrative of cultural artifacts in this reality. Radical artifacts are tossed back into the quotidian - sacred modernism duplicated endlessly in suburbia, punk rock on Cl*ar Ch*nnel, D*li cell phone covers. No anti-environment artifact is safe from the sped up cycle of cultural consumption, turning visible back into invisible, environment back into anti. Creating anti-environment through known means is staggeringly insufficient - the fish is subject to catch and release linked inexorably to the unrelenting cycle.

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I. JOSEPH A. CAMPBELL FOUNDS CAMPBELL’S PRESERVE COMPANY READY-MADE SOUP IS NOVEL & SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT II. CAMPBELL’S SOUP COMPANY GOES PUBLIC & BECOMES ONE OF TOP 4 FOOD COMPANIES, THANKS IN PART TO HEAVY ADVERTISING & ICONIC DESIGN. PRODUCT IS UBIQUITOUS III. ANDY WARHOL CREATES CAMPBELL’S SOUP CAN SILKSCREENS - PARAGON DU JOUR OF POP ART MOVEMENT & ICONOCLASTIC CULTURAL PHENOMENON IV. CAMPBELL’S CORPORATION RELEASES LIMITED-EDITION, US-ONLY SOUP CAN ANDY WARHOL DESIGN. THE PRODUCT IS AN ALL-TIME BESTSELLER

To create anti-environment in the now requires removal of the aspect of time. We understand the nature of time to be continuous and/or impenetrable, but the situation calls for engagement with the nature+ of time - a reality removed from the cycle. To call attention to the environment in a decimating way, or at least an entirely disorienting way. Make visible, own authorship, and (most importantly) resist consumption. To be Revolutionary in the time of warpspeed technicity, of obfuscated oligarchs, of perpetual sensory derangement demands creation of IT. An artifact of experience exonerated from the machine, interface exposed, resistant to re-appropriation, the user’s senses heightened. IT is a hovering apparatus removed from our undulating ocean. To create IT requires engaging head on with the environment defeating the final boss. We can take advantage of the collapsed space of our network and hyperspeed communication. Anyone can be a Savior, there is no need to wait for glitch or dramatic and egotistic Revolutionary. The monoculture in conjunction with vast and interconnected systems allows for disruption of interpassivity, assertion of authorship, and creation of anti that is heard by many. But if we are all Savior, there is none. The IT must be created, an artifact as Savior. IT has a specific point of view with awareness of, fearlessness and aggression to time. We inherited the original sin of capitalism. Our Saviors and Prophets came and went before our birth. Rather than wait for second coming, a lift-off from the ocean surface must be manifested. IT is the necessary condition. IT will exist outside of time, liberating the modern human, holding space at least until the heat death of our planet.

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Saharan Dream Slow Motion Emergency The West might want to believe that climate change can be mitigated. Maybe someone will invent a machine to reverse the quantities of carbon in the atmosphere, the masses of plastic floating in the oceans, the growing deserts and rising seas, the dwindling biodiversities.The reality is that most of the world has lost hope in nationstates, corporations, and humanity to effectively respond to climate change. We are so invested in our own systems that we cannot see beyond it. But this prompts a question: what if we have exhausted our answers and now have to pose a new question for our relationship with the world? Instead of living in fear of human impact, we must embrace it. This is the anthropocene. Humans must harness our sublime agency to shape a world where everyone can prosper. This is not a solution for climate change. It is climate change.

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Sam Brissett Drew Smith Tyler Snell

Displacements to Come

Terraforming

Desertification is already claiming about ⅓ of the Earth’s usable land. Soon, this phenomenon will cause many seemingly stable regions to become less habitable.

A system that terraforms the desert already exists within the African deserts. Termites aerate the ground while building their intricate mounds. Water seeps into the soil. Plants grow. Livestock come to feed, and unintentionally fertilize and protect the soil. A green field surrounding the termite mound emerges.

The number of displaced people around the world will begin to rise dramatically as their homelands become less viable due to increased conflicts, resource instability, and changing landscapes. Having infrastructure that responds to desertification and displaced people becomes a world wide issue.

Refugee camps are distinctly separated from their surroundings. What if these settlements were to use existing terraforming techniques on a massive scale to make their surrounding more hospitable.

Dream of the Sahara But the Sahara is greening. Well, it might be. Some climate models predict the Sahara, the largest desert on the planet, will expand. But others, even the same models sometimes, predict that climate change will actually green the Sahara. This is enough for us. The possibility, the hope. 17


Infratecture & SaharaCoin

Sprawl is Good

Could refugees be prompted to create and invest in a new way of living - one that can make areas of scarcity prosperous? Could this new way of living also provide the basic tools that can green the Sahara? Perhaps even the infrastructure becomes in-habitable - a sort of “infratecture.” The investment, power, and agency are distributed amongst the inhabitants instead of NGOs or foreign entities. This very process could be incentivized by block-chain smart contracts stipulating that “if someone builds infrastructure, then they get a SaharaCoin.” In this way, the inhabitants of these settlements create a system of investments that grow in value as the settlement expands and as infrastructure stabilizes. What is valued in the settlement is not what is owned, but rather the labor and knowledge that is implemented to produce it.

Traditionally, human settlements have been clustered around areas of rich soils or resources that are extracted for use. Density, at a healthy scale, is desirable because it minimizes the area of human activity and ostensibly protects the surrounding resources. However, the Saharan Dream flips this paradigm. Humans are clustered around areas of scarce resources where lushness is manufactured. In this case, human activity must occur everywhere possible. Sprawl is the rule.

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Saharan Dream is a speculation by students Sam Brissett, Drew Smith, and Tyler Snell as a part of the Compounding Anthroposphere studio taught by Vahan Misakyan

Whose dream? This Saharan Dream is the dream of three white midwestern men. It’s not a solution. It’s a question. A question about collaborating with climate change and embracing the impact of humans. It’s a question about displacement. About home. How does it end? As the need grows, so does the dream. And so as it shrinks. Perhaps it would grow, insatiable, just as the actions that generated this need in the first place.

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2017-18

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Phantasmagoria

Phantasmagoria were Victorian horror theaters that used magic lanterns to project images onto mirrors, smoke, or screens to frighten and titillate audiences. The use of ritual environments, darkness, and sound effects were intended to invoke communion with the spirits of the dead. The lantern could project lifelike animation, a sequence of images to wax and wane, presenting a continuous stream of experience. As an illusion, it limited the viewpoint of the spectators and controlled the experience by alternating between withholding sensual inputs and then over stimulating the senses. The defining feature of this experience was not whether it was real or not, but that it made people question their own senses when encountering a spectacle they didn’t understand and could not look away from. We are now lost in a Phantasmagoria of our own making as constructed realities and mediated experiences proliferate and replace old ways of knowing. The defining feature of this moment is our unconscious acceptance of these narratives as reality, even when we know that they are absurd. The contested ground lies in the human psyche and the stories we tell ourselves about who we are in the world around us. The collapse of metanarratives that once gave meaning to entire lives has been upended as it becomes harder and harder to believe in anything in an unadulterated way. This is an ongoing meditation, attending to the dreams and ambitions of global civilization and the need for empathy and understanding that transcends humanity’s animal roots. Our agency lies in cultivating awareness of these narratives and building fluency in their interpretation and fabrication. These phantasmagorias are a currency in the public forums of the twenty-first century, projective visions with the power to transform reality. We have finally achieved mainstream awareness of our collective inability to distinguish between our simulations and reality. The advent of the “Fake News” era has seen the fragmentation of mass media audiences and the proliferation of brand identities, twitter bots, and memes. The web is a world of advertising and observation. We leave a digital trail of psychological biometric data. This is a behavioral commodity for the global consumer culture. The internet economy feeds on our personal data, building a detailed consumer 20

Sam Greer

diet for each of us. The omnipresence and proliferation of processed news, social media, and entertainment products provides us with a range of prefabricated world views and polished thought nuggets which we can recite to demonstrate our identify or affiliations. Through this we selectively build a nest of opinions, beliefs, and a sense of identity. Though constructed and managed, we forget about all the assumptions we have made and unconsciously equate our perspective with reality. We build a bubble around ourselves and then forget about it. The thinker Jean Baudrillard defined this condition as hyperreality, in which fabricated models of understanding (a.k.a simulacra) assume the viral power to replace and reshape reality. The rapid mutation of information technology, social media ecology and virtual reality has made explicit and literal our perceptual inadequacies when dealing with the many meta-challenges of our current epoch. The inexorable grind of urbanization, natural resource extraction, and technological disruption underscores the relative lack of capital held by individuals and communities in a world shaped by massive military, industrial, and urban development priorities. This global system is fueling massive climate change and faces the ever present risk of global economic and ecological collapse. We live in a massively complex world animated by human systems that are furiously disrupting natural systems at an alarming rate. Human projects focussed on immortality, wealth accumulation, and pursuit of the divine are eating away at the ecologies that sustain us and ultimately undermining their own potential. This is happening in a context of massive global wealth disparities between the rich and the poor and the rise of twenty-first century high-tech police states. These massive global meta-narratives that shape our current epoch are challenges that we must face, yet they lie at the outer limits of our collective understanding. The subtext of many contemporary narratives speak to the perceived inevitability of these dark futures. The fetishization of the apocalypse, escapist romps in virtual reality, and love letters to dystopian nightmare futures. The realms of science fiction are adapted as templates for new industries, identities, and new interactive environments for us to inhabit.

As these spaces take shape, design professionals have untapped potential to be placemakers and storytellers in these emerging venues of human awareness. Our ability to synthesize complex information and create compelling visions has largely been focused on the analysis and creation of built or online environments, but there will be many opportunities to practice these skillsets in emerging or virtual representations of reality. The ability to abstract, to organize and present data coherently, or to trigger the suspension of disbelief is essential to building a vision that inspires investment. From this perspective, our task is no longer to seek truths or pretend to a superior awareness, but rather to be intentional producers and consumers of information in ways that catalyze legible, positive transformations to ourselves and our environments. This highlights the importance of narrative and interactivity as defining features of these new environments. In this role, it is incumbent on us to think critically about the values and assumptions that we embed in our work. Are we here to propagate a new environmental ethic for the twenty-first century or to design the digital pleasure gardens of the insanely rich? Can we facilitate new experiences that cultivate empathy and awareness towards our global environment? We can dedicate ourselves to understanding ecology or the cultivation of social networks, perhaps with an end goal of blurring the distinction between the two. The literal and figurative fragmentation of the landscape portends the doom of old forms and the emergence of new hybrid ones. Narrative and interactivity are defining features of this process. At an instinctual level, people need to impose meaning and stability on a fundamentally unstable and indeterminate world. This superimposition, or layering of values and assumptions into our ways of understanding the environment is a blessing and a curse. It allows us to form societies and work together around shared goals, but our evolutionary heritage and cultures also make us susceptible to seductive narratives. We are willing to place our faith in strongmen and priests who prey on our predispositions and cognitive failings. Narrative engagement requires the suspension of disbelief and memes thrive in this area as a viral form of rhetoric. Issue 0


They are encapsulated one-liner arguments that use images, humor, and hyperbole to bypass critical thinking and appropriate emotional content from other sources to frame their propositions. One of the most common uses is to poke holes in a certain belief or to ridicule a person of some political stripe. Memes are a thought form expression that patently disregards veracity in favor of an easy and appealing narrative. These simulacra need not be high tech. In most cases, people’s imaginations and prejudices do the work for you. It is principally a function of narratives or “routines” as conceptualized by William S. Burroughs, digestible mental vaudeville acts that we rehearse for kicks. We spend most of our lives repetitively and unconsciously obsessing about things, repeating self-fulfilling narratives to ourselves. Allowing us to mentally pop in a certain meme routine when we encounter an everyday situation and don’t want to think about it too much. The amount of time that we spend looking at a screen, clicking our way through an endless sea of pop-ups. We are already in a virtual space animated by our own consciousness processing and synthesizing inputs to create the hallucination of presence. The human brain is hardwired to learn, automate, and then push knowledge into the realm of the subconscious. The human mind is really good at filling in the gaps in our perceptions and we typically find this interactivity to be enjoyable. The preference for interactive environments will lead to an explosion of inhabitable virtual spaces. Currently these are 2-D spaces that we experience sequentially, following a web of links, but it seems inevitable that these spaces will become immersive venues and environments. The shaping of spaces and environments for commerce and socialization. Decentralized networks of portals and private chat rooms, freed from the logistical burdens of reality. The potential for high quality facial emulation and social VR spaces opens the potential for communities to build their own pocket realities and realms for work, play, and education. Our virtual realities are generic, procedural, engineered and infinitely replicable. In a place where everything is mass produced and instantaneous, those things that are unique with a handcrafted quality inversely become more valuable and indicative of some care and intent in a world overrun with automation and derivative ideas and forms. These realities we build will always be inherently limited, a biased fabrication focussed on the things we think matter. In most cases, these environments are painted mesh surfaces that block our view of an infinite sea of nothingness.

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There is a clear desire for escapist fantasy realms where the world doesn’t work the way it actually does. People are lazy and we seek controllable, repetitive realities more conditioned to our expectations. The danger lies in the assumptions and fallibility embedded in the simulations that we build. These constructs are morally neutral, deployable in the service of capital or totalitarianism, but also in the service of education, science, and understanding. The idea that we live in a relative universe does not mean that all fabricated realities and belief systems are created equal. There is meaning and an existential purpose in the crafting of better narratives and evolving new ways of knowing, acting, and communicating that do not willfully neglect unpleasant or incomprehensible realities until they reach a crisis point or prey on our lesser natures. In his famous address, This Is Water, David Foster Wallace spoke to our innate tendency toward self centeredness and unconsciousness. To let the daily operations of life fade into a background of our awareness on autopilot. Meanwhile we cruise around in a reverie of free floating fantasy and anxiety. It takes effort to be conscientious, to question your own gut reactions and embedded routines, to exercise compassion and patience. Putting in the effort and not flowing mindlessly into our most comfortable routines will be the true currency of the twenty-first century. Those things that require cooperation, awareness, and conscientiousness. The greatest byproduct of narrative is its capacity to generate a shared vision capable of inspiring collective action.

Pairing this with unmediated experiences with the rhythms and cycles of the natural world. Realigning scientific research to emulate and enhance natural processes rather than to bypass them. The ability to see how human intervention can grow and integrate more fully with nature, giving us a greater awareness of the global concerns we all share. This treats science and storytelling as tools for building a higher level of human consciousness and awareness. The rise of future narratives that shed past obsessions with race, gender, nationality, and wealth. An intentional world, where people’s agency does not result in irreversible devastation. Recognizing the role of empathy and community in building the worlds of tomorrow. We need believable and optimistic narratives about the future. Being able to chart a course between the present challenges we face and more inclusive world. Our practice will be to put in the effort to create compelling and interactive landscape narratives that are life affirming and compassionate. Regardless of the greater outcome, I see meaning and an existential purpose in the crafting of these phatasmagorias of the brain, even if it only serves to help us pull the wool over our own eyes. In a world of instant anything, it’s the thought that counts.

These visions require representation and synthesis to blend the fantasy with the underlying reality so there will not be simply escapism, but actually constitute a proactive vision for the future. When crafting these kinds of narratives, the greatest tension resides in what to reveal and what to conceal. As social creatures we look to others for assurance, purpose, and meaning. We are also really good at applied learning. We crave knowledge and mastery and excel at working together in groups. Emerging technology and human innovation have the potential to result in new models of human collaboration. Building a sense of curiosity, adventure, and purpose in a place where everything is mass produced and instantaneous. We could develop novel ways of communing with nature: Smart community configurations that reduce isolation, waste, and inefficiency. The notion of hybrid ecologies built and managed by humans to provide a haven for all life, improve resiliency, clean water, and make smart improvements to collective wellness. New sensory inputs that mimic animal consciousness and data overlays intermediating with reality, providing educational context and awareness.

Haze, Shaunna Berg

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Isolation

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Elizabeth Schmiesing

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1 2 3 4

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together, alone death by status quo compounding differences captivated behind the lens

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Contributors

Rhea Strom is a senior at Southwest High School in Minneapolis. She strives to become a more active part of her community by connecting her love of art and writing into social justice and education. When she isn’t journaling or painting/collaging self portraits, she likes to go to her peaceful spots on the various lakes and rivers around Minneapolis and observe the wildlife. Xavier Tavera learned what it felt like to be part of a subculture-the immigrant community-after moving from Mexico City to the United States. Being subject to alienation has transformed the focus of his photographs to share the lives of those who are marginalized. Images have offered insight into the diversity of numerous communities and given a voice to those who are often invisible. Tavera has shown his work extensively in the Twin Cities, nationally and internationally including Chile, Uruguay, and China. His work is part of the collections of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Plaines Art Museum, Minnesota Museum of American Art, Minnesota History Center and the Weisman Art Museum. He is a recipient of the McKnight Fellowship, Jerome Travel Award, State Arts Board, and Bronica Scholarship. Tyler Snell is in his second year of the Master of Architecture program at University of Minnesota. For him, architecture is place-based storytelling. He views his actions as only a small part of these stories, which tell themselves through ecosystems of materials and organisms. His hope is to build kinship with nonhumans and humans alike.

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Thomas E. Labedz is a nontraditional student of poetry and a natural history museum manager residing in Lincoln, Nebraska. His poetic interests include exploring the interactions of weather and changing seasons on the landscape and the role of snow and ice in our environment. An outdoor enthusiast, he often hikes, snowshoes, or cross country skis in the pursuit and study of wildlife.

Maura Rockcastle has a background in printmaking and sculpture and balances a rigorous design approach with a conceptual sensibility rooted in process and craft. Her professional experience is focused on cultural, institutional, and public realm projects. As a careful observer and listener, her work focuses on catalyzing social, economic and environmental transformation through design innovation.

Mary Dahlman Begley is a first year student in the Master of Architecture program at the University of Minnesota. She is also interested in media theory, gender studies, and experimental art. Previously, she studied American Studies and Russian Language and Culture at Carleton College. MDB has been involved in zine publishing, playing in bands, feminist organizing, and making art. www.marydbegley.com

TEN x TEN is Ross Altheimer, Satoko Muratake, John Rasmussen, Maura Rockcastle, Jessica Rossi-Mastracci, and Rachel Salmela

Jessica Rossi-Mastracci’s interests in design embrace both the theoretical and practical, as academic and professional projects have expanded on the exploration of program, connectivity, and landscape, working from the territorial scale down to detail design. She is interested in urban interventions that tackle ecological issues, leverage site potentials into new forms of urban places, navigate current and antiquated infrastructure, and can become new civic armatures for cities.

Adam Rosenthal is a Masters of Architecture candidate at the University of Minnesota. Prior to architecture he worked as a fabricator at the Science Museum of Minnesota, designing and building interactive exhibits. Adam also received a BFA in painting and printmaking from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He lives in Minneapolis, and enjoys gardening, loud music, and cats.

Ross Altheimer has led the visioning and execution of significant cultural, community and public realm projects. His work explores the art and temporality of landscape with the goal of building strong communities through addressing social and environmental justice. Satoko Muratake has extensive experience in innovative public engagement, visual research and storytelling, and grass-roots urban regenerative strategies. She engages in design process to listen to constituents and to visualize concepts that emerge from memory, conversation and empowerment. John Rasmussen is a landscape designer at TEN x TEN*. He has extensive experience in Wayfinding, Branding and Graphic Design. After working in the field of graphic design for 5 years he decided to make the switch to landscape architecture. His passion is design and the role design plays in shaping people’s lives.

Rachel Salmela’s experiences reflect a trans-disciplinary approach and a commitment to collaborative design processes across scales. From large scale public projects and master planning efforts for the City of Toronto to interactive art installations, Rachel appreciates the potential of all projects to engage ecology and culture in productive ways. Her interests in design embrace ideas of indeterminacy, hybrid landscapes, and dynamic planning frameworks.

Samuel Brissett is a second year Masters of Architecture student at the University of Minnesota. His main interests are in architectural systems and their relation to the socioeconomic status and psychology in architecture and how what we design can aid in mental restoration. In his studies he looks to expose the agency that architects have in the in world and to show that the architect is a large participant in public interest. Drew Smith is based in Minneapolis and is currently a masters of architecture candidate at the University of Minnesota. Drew is interested in how historical narratives, collective storytelling, and the passing of time impact the way architecture is created and experienced.

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Samuel Greer is a design professional and projective thinker dedicated to building urban landscapes that can meet the evolving needs of cities and ecosystems. Sam graduated from the University of Minnesota with Masters degrees in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and also teaches coursework in geospatial design at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design. Elizabeth Schmiesing is a 3rd year Masters of Architecture student at the University of Minnesota. Beth is continually interested in systems of survival, especially where mundane becomes ritual. After graduation this spring Beth hopes to navigate the outdoors anyway possible. Shaunna Berg is from Minnesota but has been living in Eastern Wisconsin for the past ten years. She studied environmental horticulture and art at the University of Wisconsin– Platteville and proceeded with a Master of Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. Passionate about art and science, Shaunna aspires to create dynamic spaces where users can view and experience landscape in a new way. She has been working as a design assistant the past few years in Minneapolis. In her free time, you would find Shaunna painting in her studio or spending time outdoors.

2017-18

Mountain, Shaunna Berg

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Profile for Litorum Journal

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