About FGUThis site is an on-going collaboration between artists, scientists, and teachers, who collectively work in place-based studies. The project seeks to capture the imagination of students of all ages who are interested in looking at the landscape around them and exploring the connections between human history, art, geography, biology, and many other disciplines.
From the Ground Up (FGU) is organized by content modules, each containing an archive of artworks which serve as a basis for, or a response to, work in other disciplines. What each of the artworks have in common is that they are specific to a particular place. Each has been mapped to specific coordinates which allow users to locate them on a map. The collaborative work, whether it is a scholarly essay, historical document, music, or visual documentation, is available on-screen along with the artwork.
Because FGU is a collaboration originating in Kansas between the University of Kansas, artists living in Lawrence, Kansas, and the Kansas Geological Survey, we are initially presenting content modules which focus on Kansas. However, we are not limited to that geographical entity: future modules may focus on places quite remote to Kansas. But it makes sense to start here.
Of course, the site is for the use of anyone who enjoys it. Whether you are a casual browser, someone interested in taking a journey and finding new perspective before setting out, or a student with a particular assignment, we know that this site is only as good as your experience with it and we invite you to let us know what you liked, and what you would have liked better. Please contact us if you are interested in providing feedback on the time you spent here.
The geographer Robert Sack argues that places are conscious constructions of meaning, social relations and nature as these three themes intersect. What this site promises is a constantly changing dialog that weaves together these three themes for our place, for Lawrence, for Kansas. We see meaning in historical terms-each a bit different in our interpretations, but intersecting. In the paintings, the murals, the maps, the essays, and the photographs we see nature, but also social relations, even implicitly, or even by their absences. Some critics within geography point to the monarch-of-all-I-survey view from above that dominates remote sensing and cartography. But what we hope that FGU can do is to destabilize that, offering the top-down map-eye as only one of many threads in the loom of a place. Geographical Information Systems are built on the principle of thematic layering of data, a scientific liminality if you will. FGU empowers people to decide how to navigate a place, how to intersect or overlay the layers in a sense.
We seek to stimulate scholarship through the creation of this forum for place-based collaboration. If you have an idea that you think might be appropriate for this venue, we would be interested in hearing from you.