Complexity is a characteristic of an ecosystem, a system of interactions between the environment and the relationships with its natural and artificial elements. As with any complex system, it has inherent plasticity, and survives based on its ability to respond to continuous change in physical, cultural, and biologic elements. The capacity for transformation within and between complex systems defines the adaptive behaviors that support a stable ecology. Knowledge of the properties that stimulate change, respond to insult, or create adaptations within the system informs how these relationships define the ‘eco-plasticity’ of land-use and sense-of-place.

The term eco-plasticity was developed through the art and science collaboration represented by Joel Slayton and Lisa Johanson. The ongoing ambition is to develop a series of land-use and sense-of-place artworks that illuminate the role of eco-plasticity as it relates to an ecology responding to competing forces. By exploring the layered relationships between the natural and artificial challenges, we hope to better understand the destiny of a particular ecology.

Joel Slayton is an artist, researcher, and curator with expertise in using media technology to explore complex systems and networks. Lisa Johanson is a clinical research scientist studying motor control and neural networks that can restore upper limb function to individuals with neurological disorders. The L&J Ranch is a conceptual art work as a platform for their collaboration.

See: The Gilla River Project