THE
INVESTIGATION
INTO
THE
ORGANIC
UTILITY
POLE


gilad dor



Motivations & Intentions



The ubiquitous generic form of the utility pole that is present throughout the US lacks individuality, and through telling the story of the pole at large an identity for each and every pole can be found.

I am particularly concerned with the trees abduction from their original habitats. Each pole was once a living organism that lived among the natural network of it’s forest; only to be abducted and coalesed into the basis of a new human-centered root system for the former-trees.

The trees that are used for utility poles have a life-expectancy that can range from 350-600 years, quite possibly more; while the pole, after its transformation, is given a lifespan of about 60 years, a massive difference from its original possible lifespan; unnatural short term predictability over natural unpredictability.

I aspire to breath a type of life back into poles; through recognizing that they, having once been alive, are now bearing witness to so much beyond their lifespan.
I feel that there are stories to tell around the pole, and in turn telling the story of the pole; the story of human needs defining the utility of a living organism.

We must think of all lived things with the same amount of respect we have for human beings.


Outcomes & Experiments




A FIELD GUIDE TO THE ORGANIC UTILITY POLE

This field guide is an explainer on the organic utility pole. Providing reading on the history of the different systems that have grown on the pole since it was first introduced in the mid-1800s; as well as the ways poles can be identified through the tags and branding that live on the pole, the different types of trees that are used as poles, the process from which a tree is transformed into a pole.

Read more
APR 2020

An Aid For Active Observation





POLE LISTENING

A series of experimental documentary pieces where I interrogate the way poles interpret their ecosystems
 
Watch here
FEB 2019

Experimental Documentary

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THREE STEPS AWAY 

A daily practice.
For a month I went on searches for Organic Poles in Google Streetview. Being able to immediately transport yourself all over the country and with nearly every drop being in view of a pole illuminates their ubiquitous form and reoccurring materiality.

Read more
MAR 2020 

Digital Exploration

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CARDBOARD DEVICES

Where this investigation began.
These are cardboard devices that use speculative & absurdist strategies to examine the strange systems that live on the pole.

Read more
FALL 2019

Physical Object Creation 




Upcoming & Unresolved



LABOR SYSTEMS
 
Focusing on three of the stages of the pole’s time and three people a part of that process; the forester, the millworker, and the lineman.
Upcoming

Multi-Medium Documentary






POETIC INTERFACE

Site specific installation of a telephone that lives on a pole; which inside that phone is the story of that pole.
Upcoming

Installation





Background



The Investigation Into the Organic Utility Pole is Gilad Dor’s thesis for his Master’s Degree at NYU Tisch’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

A research-based collection of experiments with the utility pole’s systems and narratives;
told through a sensory ethnographic lens; and majorly coming together in the forms of experimental documentary and a printed Field Guide; along with photography, audio experiments, digital exploration, physical object creation.



Reference



Including the works, writings, research, publications, and more of the following:

Ingrid Burrington
Shannon Mattern
Tega Brain
James Schwoch
Anna Tsing
Eula Biss
Sensory Ethnography Lab
Ernst Karel
David Dunn
Chris Woebken
Mimi Onuoha
Marina Zurkow
Suzanne Simard
Peter Wohlleban
Center for Land Use Interpretation
Natalie Jeremijenko
Dunne + Raby
Robert Smithson
Tom Sachs
And many others