Monday, April 25, 2011

Improbable Monument


War: Monument to war and the purpose of war, rather than the lives lost. It would incorporate reasons for fighting wars like religion, oil, and land. Not sure how it would be conceptualized.

Recyclables: either an ode to recyclables or an impermanent monument made of all compostable materials that would deteriorate within a few years and absorb back into the natural environment.

But the idea I think I'll run with is a monument to Garbage. This monument would be dedicated to remembering the continually growing heaps that are essentially out of sight, out of mind.

Within Google earth this would be interesting placed as a giant floating garbage pile within the ocean, much like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a enormous region where garbage has accumulated due to ocean currents. The current rotational pattern keeps the debris in a specific area of the Pacific Ocean. Recent research done by the National Science Foundation suggest that the effected area is roughly double the size of Texas. The debris consists mostly of plastics, chemical sludge, and other random debris.

Though the patch is enormous, it cannot be seen through satellites and in programs like Google Earth because the majority of the debris consists of plastics which break down into small polymers that cannot be seen from space. Also, much of the debris is within what is referred to as a water column which is a conceptual column of water reaching from ocean floor to surface in any specific area.

This monument effects the public by keeping them aware of how their consumption effects the planet. It's a constant reminder of what we are all doing and possibly an incentive to change for the better. Obviously it wouldn't be feasable to create a monument in the actual size of ocean effected by the garbage, but if it were a large enough monument to say place within the San Francisco Bay and visible from Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Marin the visual effect off of our shores would be fairly dramatic. It would ideally be made of formed concrete, wood, or other natural materials to avoid the possible leaching of more plastics into the ocean. If it could be placed on a large pillar stationed on the bay floor for permanency, the actual monument would be above water level and the types of materials available for use are greatly expanded.

Artists working in Public Space

While searching for artists working with monuments or public space I came across Nilda Maria Comas, a painter/ sculptor from Puerto Rico. What struck me was a monument proposal of hers that I would think of as incredibly improbable within public space.

She created A Monument to Missing Children to educate the public about the violence and criminal acts, that are constantly happening all over the world against children. I see it as improbable because the subject is so horrific and monuments to atrocious events are very rare. Instead they seem to more often commemorate the events of overcoming hardship and terror.

The artist proposal is also interesting to look at and see how working artists write descriptions of their ideas for professional proposals. Reading other artists proposals I think will be very helpful in developing proposals for our student projects. I've never even attempted to propose something even similar to the improbable monument and it's nice to have a reference.

Monday, April 18, 2011


For the upcoming carto-biography or geo-narrative project in google earth, I plan on sticking within the bay area and following a path to my favorite places to enjoy a beautiful day in the bay. See if you can figure out the locations based on the pictures below:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Foster Farms Culture Jamm

Most people don't think about factory farming when shopping for their families. Most that i've spoken with just never considered it or what it's like until confronted with the realities. Human beings are compassionate in nature and the majority of us don't enjoy contributing to suffering. The majority of factory farming isn't just in the mid west. It's right here in california too. This Factory Farming Map details exactly where and what they are, with huge areas of california having extremely dense populations of both laying and "broiler" farms. As part of my culture jamming project, i wanted to do something that could get people to think, but not be too "in your face" about it. Do something that was subtle, yet reminding a person that there is more information out there for them to seek if they want it.

For this culture jamm I printed new label stickers for foster farms chicken. A company plagued with cruelty and abuse. I started thinking about foster farms after finding this announcement that was posted a few years ago in a local berkeley grocery store.

What hit me most was that the store approved the notice, understood it, yet continued to sell a product which comes from this environment. The social responsibility ultimately falls upon the consumer to regulate the products they buy and understand the conditions in which they come from. Since the notice was merely posted at the store, the new labels give information to the consumer that is carried to their household. It's not as easily ignored.