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# Educating Riparian Attention # This series of wiki pages is a chronicle of a year-long phenological and photojournaling project. A parallel presentation can be seen on [Instagram][1]. This chronicle was compiled as part of a [presearch][2] methodology, between the Novembers of 2020 and 2021, in preparation to do research with riparian assemblages in the Okanagan and Similkameen watersheds, Syilx (Okanagan) territory and British Columbia. In an effort to intentionally cultivate my attentive capacities in these habitats, I walked through a riparian habitat multiple times a week. While there I photographed that which grabed my attention. Later in the day, usually in my home, I captioned a selection of these photos with whatever came to mind in that moment of reflection. The captions are questioning, cryptic, an sometimes funny, though often only to me. Individually, these captioned photos, or *photocaptions*, serve as markers to which I can refer back in further exploration of this (research) landscape. They code the seasons and anchor experiences, affect, and weather in my imaginary and memory of these riparian places. Collectively the photocaptions are a recording of my attending over the course of one year. Which photos are taken was a matter of what solicited my attention in the riparian context, while present in bodymind, in the same weather conditions as the beings amongst and with whom I am walked. Each caption then represents a moment of attentive encounter with the photographed, removed from the place and conditions of that encounter. Then, there is a "post", a photocaption, a double moment in the education of my attention. I have come to think of this doubling and subsequent additions to each photocaption as a process of [corrugation][3], folding back on itself, drawing something else in every time. The chronicle is organized by month, each of which can be accessed below or via the navigation bars on the left hand side of your desktop screen. Photocaptions appear in order of the date they were posted to Instagram from top to bottom. [November 2020][4] [December 2020][5] [January 2021][6] [February 2021][7] [March 2021][8] [April 2021][9] [May 2021][10] [June 2021][11] [July 2021][12] [August 2021][13] [September 2021][14] [October 2021][15] [November 2021][16] ## The Rules ## When I began this project I did so hesitantly, for a year-long commitment to anything can feel daunting. The following rules helped the then forthcoming year feel more accessible. 1. Keep it easy. 2. It's okay if there's no time. 3. Don't try too hard. 4. No zoom, no filters. *Keep it easy*. That is my most important rule. Lucky for me I like being outside and live in close proximity to multiple riparian habitats that I can visit alone or with friends, regardless of the weather (though I've learned that phones batteries do not last long in the cold). that said, there's not always time for a walk. The next most important rule is, *it's okay if there's not time*. *Don't try too hard*. To take photos, I only use the camera on my phone as using another camera would require more steps. If focusing the shot is too hard, I accept that the being(s) I am trying to photograph is/are not in the mood for a photo shoot and I thank them for their honesty and move on. Additionally, I chose to download the Instagram app to my phone for the duration of this project, despite my misgivings about the Facebook corporation, such that posting photos would be as streamlined as possible. Finally, *no zoom, no filters*. I like that the limitations of what I can photograph come from my location in space. The photos you see have not been intentionally altered from when I took them, though as they pass through the mysterious workings of multiple devices, they will take on ever changing forms. ## Technological folds ## Photos are cataloged here in their whole-frame form, though some have been cropped in their corresponding Instagram posts. Captions are listed directly below photographs; anything below a photo's caption is further pondering about a photocaption and is dated accordingly. When it became a priority for me to make this chronicle more accessible than Instagram allowed, and this wiki rendering came into being, another fold was brought into play: alt-text. Photo descriptions, which would be read aloud by a screen reader were you to be using one, are my best attempt at [alt(erntive)-text][17], the rich descriptive text written in the mark down for these pages. The most helpful sources for thinking with alt-text that I have found to date are Mara Mills' (2015) essay "[Listening to Images: Audio Description, the Translation Overlay, and Image Retrieval][18]" and the website "[Alt-text as Poetry][19]," a collaboration between artists Bojana Coklyat and Shannon Finnegan. Months of conversations and inquiries have lead me to develop a style of writing alt-text that aims to situate these photos contextually and link them to their accompanying captions. This is a practice that enhances content, my own reflection on the photocaptions, and accessibility. ## Ethics ## All human people shown in these photos have consented to have their images used in the context of this project. Plant, water, insect, sky, weather: practices of consent with these entities are significantly less clear than they are with fellow humans. My thinking about this topic is nascent and nourished by an international community of multi-species-curious thinkers. Please stand by for further thoughts on this matter. ## Associated exploits ## Out of this exercise came a comprehensive exam in the form of a course curriculum, "[Cultivating Arts of Attentiveness: A Presearch Methodology][20]." Additionally, a short reflection on the process of corrugation was published by the [Urban Field Naturalist Project][21] in 2021. After presenting the presearch methodology that this project became at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry in May of 2021, a paper was compiled for peer review, though was stalled for various reasons. With any luck, such a publication will emerge in the mear future. ---------- [1]: [2]: [3]: [4]: [5]: [6]: [7]: [8]: [9]: [10]: [11]: [12]: [13]: [14]: [15]: [16]: [17]: [18]: [19]: [20]: [21]:
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