Surrounded by the Santa Clara River Estuary, the Pacific Ocean, and Ventura Harbor, the Ventura Harbor Ecological Reserve is part of the city’s water reclamation system and provides important habitat for many species. The Harbor Wetlands Ecological Reserve Public Art Vision Plan provides a great opportunity to preserve and protect fragile habitat while connecting people to the environment through art. The Vision Plan proposes an environmental art sequence that heightens people’s experience of:
-the building techniques, habitats, and life cycles of other species
-the phenomena and processes playing upon the site’s diverse landscapes
-the water located in and around the Harbor Wetlands
-ecological enhancements made to the site Approach:
The project is conceived as a sequence of cinematic frames and progressions through which people view, understand, and respond to the site’s landscapes and ecology. The site is a place of motion and stillness. Dynamic natural processes and animal activities play upon the sites’ serene landscapes. It can be experienced as a theater of both dramatic change and timeless stasis. Visitors move along pathways and pause—their attentions captured and directed by aesthetic frames and platforms. Progressions of sculptural form echo the drama of nature’s cycles and phenomena: waves crashing, dunes migrating, water flowing, birds flying, caterpillars molting, and animals constructing. Working in tandem with natural cycles, these animated sculptural progressions yield a heightened experience of the site’s dynamism— triggering internal emotions and narratives. The visitor leaves with an impression of the site’s beauty, processes and cycles—an interplay of motion and stillness. Environmental Art Sequence:
The environmental art sequence includes five features located along an improved pathway that weaves through the site. The artworks respond to their specific spots within the site and are designed for contemplation and discovery. Through environmental cues, people come to understand that they are visitors to other species’ habitats which they can experience, but not intrude upon them. The environmental artworks include: “Killdeer Passage”, “Heron Blind and Bridge”, “Dune Overlook and Drifts”, “Caddisfly Cascade”, and “Monarch Garden”. Animals at the site exhibit beautifully functional ways to survive by building diverse structures using techniques that we have adopted—stacking, weaving, cementing, and sculpting. Although labor intensive, building is essential for survival. Each environmental artwork at the Harbor Wetlands draws from and is inspired by the techniques and materials employed by species and their animal architecture. The site is noted for the abundance of water within and around it. In the artworks, water is collected, reused, revealed, and released to enhance habitat, create connections, celebrate processes, and provide pleasure. The artworks connect people to the cycles and mysteries of water. PROJECT CREDITS:
Lorna Jordan, Planning & Design Team Leader
In association with AMEC, Moore Iacofano Goltsman, & Winterbottom Design Commissioned by the City of San Buenaventura Public Art Commission Cinematic Frames and ProgressionsDune Overlooks and DriftsHeron Blind & BridgeCaddisfly CascadeKilldeer PassageMonarch GardenWater Context & PoeticsAnimal ArchitectureHabitat Enhacement StrategiesVisitor Experience & ActivitiesEnvironmental ArtworksExisting Habitat ZonesEnvironmental Art SequenceNested ScalesProject Credits