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Archive for June, 2008

Somehow, I managed to miss all pre-press about The Bottle Project in Atlanta, an installation in a park walking distance to my house. Last night, I was walking over there, and happened upon part of it that remains – it was supposed to be installed through September, but it looks like the Department of Watershed Management destroyed it as part of a runoff control project. Here is the part that I saw (photos are from my cameraphone, sorry for the poor quality):

The Bottle Project - Web

The Bottle Project - Entryway Post

The igloo or dome was gone. I hope they’ve simply moved it during the watershed project and will return it when that is complete.

I was curious about the artists and any other info about The Bottle Project, so I looked it up when I got home and found the above linked Blogspot page, along with the following coverage from the local Public Broadcasting station: Sunken Garden Park – The Bottle Project, including a recorded interview with one of the artists, Pam Longobardi.

Here is info on the project from the Blogspot site:

The Bottle Project is a temporary public art project created for Atlanta’s Sunken Garden Park by artists Craig Dongoski, Pam Longobardi and Joe Peragine. The project explores the invisible network of connectedness that runs through everything, whether human or non-human, built or naturally occurring. This network can be made visible by examining the flow of water, both local and global. Atlanta is experiencing the longest drought in our collective memory, and yet very little conversation about conservation has occurred. The reaction of habit and convenience is to buy bottled water. The natural network of water flow has become artificial and commodified. Plastic that never disappears off the earth is being produced and used by the billions every day to contain and transport this naturally mobile substance. We are attempting to make visible a problematic cycle that needs to be re-thought.

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Take a few minutes to watch this video: Chris Jordan Pictures Excess – TED Talk 2008

Artist Chris Jordan talks about his work at the TED Conference earlier this spring – in his own words here from his website:

Running the Numbers looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 32,000 breast augmentation surgeries in the U.S. every month.

This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. Employing themes such as the near versus the far, and the one versus the many, I hope to raise some questions about the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.

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Superfund – what’s that? Just a little program that made polluters pay to clean up after themselves – spurred by the infamous Love Canal case. But it was more or less killed by the Bush Administration (well, it has been defunded, which is the same thing).

I just ran across a review in American Scientist of a website devoted to shedding light on the remaining Superfund Sites (there are hundreds). This site, called Superfund365 is a wonderful blend of detailed scientific, demographic, and geographic information pulled together with a very pleasing and easy to understand interface. A new site is featured every day for 365 days (it started in September 2007) but you can browse all of the sites at any time.

There’s been a lot of discussion lately of the marriage of science and design and this is an excellent example. My only wish would be that there were a way to navigate all of the sites geographically (a la Center for Public Integrity’s Superfund site, Wasting Away), but that’s my personal bent. Once you have selected a site, there is a very nicely built in Google Map where you can navigate around the site.

Check it out – you might learn something while you enjoy the elegant design.

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