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Freshkills


The Landscape Art Generator Initiative has chosen Freshkills Park as the site for the next edition of its design ideas competition. In 2010, artists, designers, scientists and engineers alike were challenged to design a land art sculpture that was also a power plant capable of generating clean energy for thousands of homes. The brief for 2012 is basically the same, except of course you will be plopping down your installation not on the sands of the United Arab Emirates but on a park reclaimed from what was once the world's largest landfill, Fresh Kills (N.B. two words for the dump, one word for the park).

If you're not familiar with Freshkills Park, here's some information taken from its blog (every park should have a blog, or at least a Twitter account!):

At 2,200 acres, Freshkills Park will be almost three times the size of Central Park and the largest park developed in New York City in over 100 years. The transformation of what was formerly the world’s largest landfill into a productive and beautiful cultural destination will make the park a symbol of renewal and an expression of how our society can restore balance to its landscape.

In addition to providing a wide range of recreational opportunities, including many uncommon in the city, the park’s design, ecological restoration and cultural and educational programming will emphasize environmental sustainability and a renewed public concern for our human impact on the earth.


In case you're eager to start your creative process now, we suggest reading John May's essay on Fresh Kills, published in the boogazine Verb: Crisis, 2008. Here's one of the closing passages:

Fresh Kills is our generation’s A-Bomb: we express dignified shame at the fact of its existence to mask our delight in knowing that it belongs to us. It may be a disturbing thing, but it also seems somehow extraordinary, and in either case, it is our disturbing-extraordinary thing. We secretly love it. We like to know that it’s there. Its location with respect to Manhattan is indicative of a preferential derision; near enough to be seen, to enjoy the peace of mind provided by the power implicit in its existence, but too far away to be smelled, too distant to impose on our comfort. It is material evidence that the American Way of Life is still very much expanding, that our morality is still dominant, still at work in the corners of life. The size of the pile—taller than the Statue of Liberty across the bay—is evidence in support of our belief in American strength and control. Fresh Kills is the literal, substantive embodiment of the consumptive-moral technologies of flexible accumulation, of a late twentieth-century, Neoliberal American economy; a testament to the fecundity of its principal metropolitan region, its most prominent image of a free-market. Trash and waste are central elements in our morality; they demonstrate our power, and allow us to sleep well.


Now how can one resist adding a bit more seductive, soporific images on top of that tenuous veil separating us from our monstrous anus.

Freshkills


Full details will be released on 1 January 2012, and you have until 1 July 2012 to submit your proposals.


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