grounding walden

an against the grain, geographic excursion that embraces henry david thoreau's acerbic accounting

Edge Operations, literally, re-situates Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, or Life in the Woods (1845-54).


It excavates the state statistics, merchant magazines, and logistical logs cited by and parodied in Thoreau’s acerbic accounting. Triangulating such tabulations with his Georgic tours, this project maps the evolving agents, envelopes, instruments, territories, and symbiotic material relays – of production and consumption – linking the landscapes of Concord with Boston and global empires.


Forget the Walden you know; that old ode to romantic  immersion and escape; that hermetic hut (a la Abbey Laugier or Heidegger).


Instead of dismissing the era's quantitative reductions,  the goal of Edge Operations is to examine the territorial and aggregate effects of such stats; to enable a multi-scalar reading of Walden, which acknowledges the material extents of Thoreau's cultural critiques and mensurative curiosity. Broadly, Edge Operations also offers a moment to reflect on today's ambitions for information - the quantitative self, the smart city, big data, state surveillance, carbon trading, etc. - and consider the institutional, material, and even aesthetic geneaologies lodged within the smallest bytes of our generative metrics.


From banal resources to aggregate settlement structures, domestic consumption to gross domestic production, edge operations spatializes the evolving, interdependent accounts and networks of in-land peripheries and commercial metropolis.


resource relays:

resurveying walden








Refrigeration, Climate Constructions, & Industrial Foodsheds

coldscape conduits

metabolic maps


see material metabolisms for more . . .


launch schedule

Chapter by chapter explorations will be posted as completed. Databases and query-based mappings will evolve on a similar schedule.


Beyond the initial series, "Re-Surveying Walden," under Material Metabolisms, new data, interactions, and infographics will be posted in May 2016.

I have thought that Walden Pond would be a good place for business... it is a good port and a good foundation.

under construction