The Meander~Delta method
The Meander~Delta method is a form of direct experiential collaborative research enacted through walking and doing experiments in the natural [or other] environment. The aim is that this process may lead to new ideas and discussions which cause the participant to meander from the planned course of action to reveal alternative routes and different ways of looking. During the meander, notes are made, and the results of the experiments recorded; The collection and sorting of these materials form the ~Delta object: an archive of the event.
1. To slowly wander from a given course.
2. (of a river or road) follow a winding course
3. a journey that has no particular direction:
1. The accumulation and sorting of material as a result of the movement of water, typically at the mouth of a river.
2. A difference between two things or values.
The initial meander is an inter-disciplinary and collaborative group action; a purposeful turbulation. It should resemble a field trip, more than a ramble, a process of research; of extraction and collection. This lends itself well (but is not limited to) to ecological or geological experiments. The Meander~Delta is differentiated from a Situationist ‘derive’ in that it encompasses (but is not limited to) the natural environment. It also uses a predefined route of action from which participants are encouraged to meander through the actions conversations that occur. Cumulating at the ~Delta object.
A meander is generally considered to be a journey that has no particular direction. However, consider the active and generative process at work:
1. Cutting. The meandering stream finds its own way through the environment. It cuts away at its own banks, removing materials, often exposing the geological substructure of the soil and rock under the surface. Likewise, the Meander~Delta should expose the unseen properties of a site through active intervention.
2. Slowness. The process of meandering naturally lengthens the stream and slows the flow rate of the river, affording safe environments, often rich in wildlife. Similarly, the meander should aim to cultivate an environment [space and time] ideal for collaboration and discussion through a slowness afforded by active intervention.
3. Collection. The meandering process naturally gathers up material which is moved along the stream and later sorted and deposited elsewhere, in parts of the stream where the flow rate reduces forming ~Delta. These emergent temporal land masses often provide ecologically diverse environments, safe nesting grounds, or fertile soils for plant growth.
During a Meander, walkers are tasked with documenting their experiences in various ways; making recordings, photographs, drawings or detailed notes during the meander, and to submit these to the ~Delta object which forms a record of the event. The parameters of the final accumulated mass, the delta should be pre-defined and agreed. This might be as simple as a blog post, photographs and writing, but more ideal is the physical the archiving of the materials. The final form of the resultant ~Delta object is defined by the dimensions of the material collected or generated, and the decisions of those tasked with its curation, and the editing.
The Meander~Delta is a process of making time and space for discussion, action and interaction. The process enables transmission of new material, opening new spaces rich and fertile grounds for practice and discussion. A mechanism which enriches creative environments, through social interaction, and collaboration between different fields of specialisation, supporting the development of new evolving para-disciplinary assemblage.
From ‘The Pressure of Ideas/Notes on Para-Lab’ 2020