Shelby Roberts

Mountainview and Valle de Oro
Getting out here by car and then getting to the preserve on foot took enough time that it was less peopled than it could have been, which was something I appreciated. I immediately high-stepped out to the river and got into it, walked out to some muddy banks with lots of marks of bird life. I made a point to notice how the place was where I exited land and entered water so I could make my way back easier. There were pieces of concrete and rebar with detritus, they all kind of looked the same but I noted how the nearest cluster of trash looked and identified some nearby plants and really looked so that I could remember their constellation and find it again when I was done walking in the river. I remember especially the Bidens frondosa which surprised me with lots of barbed cypselae stuck into my shorts and shirt and hair. This was the last plant I passed through before entering the river.

This part of the Bosque seemed low and closed in by plant life. I was in a curve in the river so I couldn’t see far enough in any direction to see any other people and so I felt very alone and like I had a lot of protection and privacy. I saw Sandhill Cranes and Canada Geese. The Sandhill Cranes look very silvery blue.

I lost track of time and got lost in slowly eating a dry and pleasureless blood orange while exploring more. I showed up late to meet with the group and felt embarrassed.

I rode my bike from the Hispanic Cultural Center this morning to Valle de Oro, I was near but not in the preserve. I think that I need to go back again to understand better where I was. It seemed like the Valle de Oro bike path I was on was very near to where we walked on October 11th.

Today I could barely see what was around me, I have been too wrapped up in my thoughts. I stopped frequently to look HARD at the places and tried to be present in these places. I got repeatedly lost and reoriented myself, this helped keep me present. I was lost and then recognized the gas station where we met on the morning of the 11th. I recognized straw bales painted like Jack-o-lanterns that I noticed on our caravan with Richard Moore. I rode my bike down the path Britney and I took, and today men were patching potholes in this path.

All of the industry and the rail line in proximity to new bike paths and new development, such as the Paseo Del Rio, reminds me of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. I am curious why this place has been chosen for development.

When I got to the diversion channel I cried. I did not expect that this would make me cry but it was so steep and violent I cried. It was so white and smooth and I can only imagine water shooting through it too quickly.

I map over Albuquerque with my dream map of places, a map which grows every year but always seems to be basically the same.

The Rio Grande is the St. John’s River, is the Eel River, is the Mad River, is the Colorado River, is the Kaweah River, is the Kern River, is Cherry Falls, is Slick Rock, is Livingston, is the track in high school, is the freeway I swim with all the other swimmers too fast, too fast to go where I want to go and I always have to get off miles past and turn around or wait, soggy and impatient. The Rio Grande is the mined river full of sedimentary pollution, I feel slimy rocks in the current slapping into me like fish. The Rio Grande is the airport, is the airplane, is LAX, is my father driving too fast. The Rio Grande is utterly new to me.

I feel like this is a very familiar place. I visit the Rio Grande in my dreams every few nights, I visit the Rio Grande during the day once or twice a week. I am curious about this place and feel very happy to be getting to know the river, slowly. It feels like meeting the different people in the hilly dream neighborhood, they welcome me inside their colorful homes, and I feel like I do not belong in their homes but they welcome me in anyway and show me everything, like when I went caroling as a child. Like this place was somebody’s grandmother, I feel accepted and loved without deserving any of it. I feel embarrassed.

The river is slower than what I think and I am changed in the presence of this place.

WHEELS Museum/The Big I
I have visited many museums like this before, I am a fan of historical museums.

The strangeness of the space itself and the strangeness of going to a place just to look at things and pictures for a long time.

We Have Everything Everyone Likes (Loves?) that Spins!

In a building full of unmoving, static objects meant to be in motion.

How do we decide what is worthy of preservation?

What do we deem worthy of being saved?

What sparks nostalgia?

What about haptic labor makes us yearn to travel back in time?

The Big I – watching and listening from the Realtor’s Association parking lot was a new way to experience this place. I usually experience the Big I when I am in the Big I, and as a newcomer I am often confused about where I am or need to be in the I. Looking at the structure from the outside makes it clear how one could be lost.

When I moved here someone asked me “HAVE YOU SEEN THE BIG EYE YET?” which frankly terrified me.

A band of turquoise runs along the lengths of these snaking forms, tying a knot of approaching and receding bands of wind. The structure reminds me of the diversion channels.

Which of these big rigs carry nuclear missiles, which are equipped with immobilizing foam in the event they are hijacked by terrorists?

Imagine a future without vehicles and ask what purpose these structures might serve. Will highway infrastructure be preserved and historicized? Will we outlive vehicles? Will collective living structures be built into the sides and underneaths, will the roadways be kept up for bicycles and other things we love that spin?

Tiguex Park/Old Town/Sawmill District
This day was spending mostly talking and eating in the park with my classmates. I have not felt this connected to others for many months now.

When I imagined what my graduate experience would be like, I anticipated that there would be opportunities to build relationships with others that went beyond emails and studio visits. This pandemic reality has boiled down much of the academic experience to business only, and the pleasure of encountering humans as humans has been lost. This has been a dry and pleasureless time (like a shitty blood orange), which made simply eating lunch and chatting feel intoxicating by comparison.

The Mill Pond Refuge – here is a park in formation which has been abandoned. Here is a place for humans but also for plants and birds and groundwater recharge, but the place is paused. Trees and plants are dead, having apparently been planted not long ago. Infrastructure seems abandoned; trash receptacles are overflowing.

Who is responsible for tending to this place?

When do people feel responsible for lands near where they live?

When do people form connections to places and feel compelled to care for them?

What makes people feel as though they can interact with a place?

What prevents connection to a place?

What will this place be like in 30 years?


Field Lab 2

Active listening requires attention to the time and place, the sounds you hear and the ones you don’t, and the way your body displaces sound when you turn your head or take a step forwards, backwards or to the side. At any specific time or any specific place, you will never hear the same combination of sounds twice. Soundscapes are forever changing.

Big I, 10/9/20, 10:37am-10:39am
Big I, 10/9/20, 10:41am-10:43am
The Bosque, 10/9/20, 2:26pm-2:29pm


Our field study occurred on lands of the Pueblo people—the true stewards of this place. I was/am a guest.


These things aren’t static.


Energy flows through systems (and stories), setting them in motion.


The differential between pause and movement is energy. (pause → energy → movement)

So how can I pause what I cannot pause, to ask where it is going?

Can I redirect energy towards a pause? (pause ← energy ← movement)

slipstream / a current of air behind a moving object

Daniel Hojnacki

A continuation of building transportation, looking back while looking forward, what has changed? What has stayed the same? (Laying tracks for a Railroad, from the WHEELS Museum & The BIG-I)
A playful gesture of measuring a moment of space I contained & filled at the Bosque briefly

Jana Greiner

Stitched response

by Jana Greiner

The Big Eye

This nest of what was once a magenta wig is now a beautiful place holder. It holds memories of a life lived, maybe not so long ago, when these strands were connected to others like them working together to create a head cover that could transform the person wearing it.


Wind blown, styled by nature. I am captivated by the shapes formed by the ground cover. They mirror the sweeps of feathered hair from the seventies.
Trash or treasure, this old theme. I would not have stopped to take this magnificent photo of the light reflecting off the water if this piece of trash had not caught my eye first.
Graffiti frames the water channel, giving it a sense of humanity, of a place lived in and inhabited. It may look rural but it has urban written all over it.

Wildlife Refuge

The muddy wondering river channel looks unmarried by human development from this angle but right below the lens are jetty jacks imbedded in the bank to obstruct the river’s movement.
I found this drawing of jetty jacks in a World War 2 tactical manual. I now understand why I get a creepy feeling when I see them in the water or in the woods. They are a product of war and used to keep people out or for holding people back.


Marks . . . mark making, marking the land, marking systems, marking boundaries, marking property lines, marching, map making, mapping, demarcating, managing, man made, manhandled, manspeak, mansplain, mismanage, misrepresent, mistake, mistook, mystery, history, man’s story, mandatory, misogyny, misunderstood, maintain, maintenance, mainstream, main street, main stage, mount, mountain, mounty, monument, monumental, monster,
master, mister,
muster. . .


Understand that the land has a memory that is entirely its own. It will tell us if we listen. 

These soundscapes, represented both audibly and visually, reflect my relationship to the land I walked in the Elena Gallegos Open Space and Manzano Open Space in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It’s a deep, chaotic, often complicated relationship. I am confused by the complexities of my part settler, part unknown identity. But the land accepts me, it allows me to listen and learn and reflect. 

Audio: Footsteps 1

Audio: Footsteps 2


• the acoustic environment as perceived by me in context of the history and memory of the land

• Humans must draw lines (establish limits/bounds) on how they use/live on land. Should these lines be reflective of ancestrally where one comes from or what they are doing today to regenerate relationships with that land and its native people or both? Therefore, where is my line?

• felt exhausted after each day but so stimulated I couldn’t let go to fall asleep

• I was surprised by how hard it was to meditate as a form of embodied research

• I want to know more about water use/water rights. Water shapes the land that it runs through, can sound have the same effect?

• the measurement of “feeling” through sound – how does this relate to my music?


The body and the boundaries are not so static 
They shimmer and move, chatter with rusted steel touch
Sticking their heads out from beneath the dirt and dust you’ve been kicking over them
Someone is looking out for you out there 
Another body
Always was another body before yours
That touched these bleached bounds
The same as your white bones 
Of air encased in numerous unknown formations awaiting repair
Can you stitch a breath of forgetfulness together?
The same as you and your body, bounded by your own memory 
Limited, has corners, you turn and re-orient, get frustrated
Possessing your space 
Positioned in the presence of permeating persistent memory

Can you own the stone below that which bounds it?
If they were to teach one another to talk to each other 
Would you listen then? 

Thank you stranger for orienting me in this space
Although I may still feel lost, at least I know where I am now 

It was ambiguous they said when defining the Elena Gallegos grant for they didn’t know what “sierra” meant. It wasnt until many years later when re measuring the bounds of the tract of land did they find out it actually meant the crest of the Sandias. And that was a long way from where the fence line landed that day. Or the days before and the ones before that. It’s said it still looks much the way it did in 1679, but does it feel the same? Does it speak the same dialect or language it once did? There are claims that hidden off a trail in the Sandia Mountain lies buried a stone with a deep cross etched within it representing the boundary marker left by a Spanish lieutenant marking the boundary of the Sandia Pueblo from the late 1700’s. Buried. That would have meant somewhere up to almost 10,000 acres, an area of about 15 square miles well into the mountains of the Sandias. When you look out from the sierra today, you can see the defined line of the Pueblo butting no further up to the foothills across the arid dry valley. A headstone of the past dictating what was once and is no longer, an epitaph more than a boundary. Laid to rest. If we taught this stone to talk, if only we taught them words, what could we learn from them today? Vaguely, always vaguely remembered, it’s amazing how memory can play that cruel trick on the mind of forgetfulness at the most timely of times. Or maybe we choose to forget and let interpretation take place for history. Who atones for their sins? Is it the hang gliders, the icarus climbing toward the sun, maybe to take that too with them on their way down? Is there a boundary etched in the stars? Is it truly too late to redraw the bounds that bind us, too late to atone for those sins? 


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ROOTEDNESS (stillness)

Center of the Universe?
Found marker in Manzano Open Space, Albuquerque, NM, near to Manzano Mountain which had been hollowed out for the storage of nuclear weapons

Ryan said on day one in the Sandia Mountains that when the sprawl came to Albuquerque after/during the war, it was as if we laid a grid on top of the land, and that really stuck with me because I work with grids and want to address this impulse in myself and in settler colonial society, and to look critically at what effects laying the grid down has produced.

Phoradendron Juniperinum is a parasite- a colonizing plant. Looking into this invasive species I learned that this mistletoe results from a bird “dropping the seeds off” via its waste onto a branch, where it will germinate and grow.

PIÑON seeds and pods

Both Piñon and Juniper (and their parasitic mistletoe) offer food to the Pinyon Jay, perhaps whose feather is in the photograph below. The jay in turn assists in the propagation of these species, both of whom are suffering die-offs due to drought and an increasingly aridified landscape in the Southwest.



I wonder if these jays will or are already migrating poleward considering the dwindling Piñon population.


and Heavy Water

I am interested in researching in more depth the nuclear history of New Mexico and how this as well as local extraction and energy endeavors have directly contributed to the degradation of local ecosystems, the migration or die-off of species, and the negative impact on human health and wellbeing. What is the connection between all of these things? What can be done?

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