Flow Paths by Tim Knowles – Dynamic Environment Exhibition

October 30th, 2019

Flow Paths are a series of drawings by Tim Knowles that capture the movements of the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary inhabitants. Knowles developed this project while participating in the Watershed+ Dynamic Environment Lab where he was embedded in the UEP Department.

The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is a natural reserve of 59 acres on the west side of the Bow River intended to give migratory birds a place to rest. To date, 270 species of birds, 21 species of mammals, and 347 species of plants have been recorded at the sanctuary. It’s an environment bustling with life; a space in constant flux and Knowles wanted to “map the movement of everything”.

In 2018, the artist undertook an intensive residency where he started to catalogue the activity in the sanctuary by using a GPS enabled tablet with detailed satellite imagery. He collected data on the flow and tracks of birds, animals, and people. He recorded the industrious work of the beavers and the paths they took with their felled trees. Knowles used the information to create a series of drawings that expose the inner workings of the sanctuary. Patterns of animal behaviour become clear and viewers can infer the relationship between animals and their environment. These insights influenced the continued restoration of the sanctuary after the 2013 flood, informing the routes of water channels and paths as well as the artist’s own original design for a hybrid structure that is part log jam, part bridge, and part bird blind.

This work is on view at Contemporary Calgary as part of the Dynamic Environment exhibition until January 5, 2020.

Photographs courtesy Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye.