Place Report: Pine in the Sand

Place Report: Pine in the Sand

Pine in the Sand
Pine in the Sand

After the sprawling, messy, free-form expression along the Somerville Bike Path Sculpture Garden, you are up for something minimal and curated. 

Pine in the Sand fits the bill. It's a striking installation: a single living pine tree atop a sand dune, surrounded by concrete barriers and a cluster of granite blocks. 

It's also well documented, with a website that has a timelapse archive of the construction of the project, and some stills. It also has an Instagram hashtag

Surprising that a tree can live in that environment, but it's been there for a few years. Must be from hardy, Cape Cod scrub pitch pine stock. 

What makes it a place, not just a gawky art destination: the granite blocks that encourage hanging out in this sunny spot. 

You get a late start, again, so you shot a quick video, with an Osmo Pocket camera, on loan from Max Rottersman. 

The camera is unlike any other camera you've ever used, with a head that floats on three gimbels. So you try to explore its unique capabilities. 

You get as far as testing it out on long tracking shots. It does stay steady on the horizon, even as you move around. It's kind of like a Go Pro, but with more image stabilization. 

So you walk around alot: circling the Pine in the Sand display, just outside the circle of concrete Jersey barriers. You also stroll along the sidewalk, and down some of the paths around the pine and the sand dune. 

One fact that helps explain the camera's reason for being: it's manufactured by DJI, the drone makers. So it was primarily created as a drone camera, which explains some of the horizon-locking settings. But in their repurposing, DJI has added some playful TikTok templates, which help you create frenetic videos from your footage. 

Maybe next time you'll just pick a template and let Osmo Pocket direct the shooting. 

Anyway, here's the video:

Pretty crude, right? 

Too dark (you've got to get out earlier in the day), and your first attempt at a voice-over is just what you would expect. 

Also, are those people on the beach really doing yoga? You watch it again, and you think they are. They are on a yoga mat. And it's the same people you saw doing yoga a few seconds earlier. Is there such a thing as two-person yoga? You're not going to change it. 

BTW, you recently came across a mention of "Cunningham's Law," can't remember exactly where. But according to Wikipedia, where you just looked it up, the law states that "the best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it's to post the wrong answer."

You're surprised you hadn't heard about this law before, because... it's true, and you've frequently benefitted from it. You often find yourself starting down a wrong path, until someone more knowledgeable says, "Oh, don't do it that way. Try this." 

You've horrified many engineers with the early versions of many of your projects, and most of the time these more experienced creators take a few minutes to set you straight. You think they are acting out of professional pride and an inner duty to a higher standard. 

The reason you bring this up is that you're realizing that you're taking the same approach to your blog posts, social media, and video projects. They're rudimentary and crude, but you're getting a lot of good, instructive, feedback from people you know who know better.

So it's working, but you hope these rookie forays are not wearing out your patience along the way.