Calibrate is an apparatus for registering and perceiving multiple scales of intricate, accumulated environment data gathered from across Columbus and its environs. This installation in the courtyard of Franklin Square, home of the Heritage Fund of Bartholomew County, records the cultivated ecological layers of a city rich in making, creativity, and innovation over multiple, disparate timescales—from geologic time to real-time sensing data. The aggregation of thousands of years of glacial motion, together with the Ohio River watershed ecosystem has long nourished anthropogenic ingenuity for industry, agriculture, and technology.

Calibrate is a kind of drawing machine. Its armature is a large, transparent repository, superimposed with terrain mappings and a foundational terrain base. Inside the repository, choreographed by environment sensing data, a hopper and stylus on a robotic gantry methodically deposit and disperse media onto the horizontal bed. The media accumulates and repositions, continuously redrawing and remapping the underlying terrain. Visitors will see the gantry’s movement as a slow drawing, which might also be interpreted as a kind of performance that makes visible the interconnected ecological information that centers Columbus within a long timeline.

Franklin Square, 1870

A residential block since 1870, the buildings and courtyard now known as Franklin Square were purchased and renovated by Xenia S. Miller in 1964 and later donated to the Heritage Fund, the community foundation of Bartholomew County, which seeks to foster philanthropy and community leadership in all its forms.

Natalie Yates is an Assistant Professor of landscape architecture at Ball State University, and her scholarly work is situated at the intersection of representation and analysis of landscape systems. Her research focuses on dynamic landscape illustration and simulation, using sensing methods in the design process, including Geographic Information Systems, and UAVs (drones) in responsive design, and post-industrial urban landscapes. Yates teaches design studios, design communication, dynamic illustration and simulation, and UAS Technologies. Yates has published research at the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture national conference, and co-authored the book Modeling the Environment: Techniques and Tools for the 3D Illustration of Dynamic Landscapes (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012).