"Field Constructs" competition finalist, produced in collaboration with Logan Wagner and Ludovico Centis.
In a society where the perception of a successful life equals often with accumulation, waste becomes a shameful thing. As it happened with death, waste has been in the last decades systematically removed from our society’s living space, buried where our eyes do not see it, and our noses do not smell it. Waste is rapidly collected, removed and treated, buried and in the worst scenarios simply thrown away. Yet, waste is necessary, as to some extent death is.
The invisibility of the removal and disposal of waste and its consequences, including some harmful effects, is taken for granted as part of our daily life. Waste management initiatives such as those lead by Ecology Action of Texas recognize the potential residing in the afterlife of waste to generate new material life cycles.
Looking at this metaphoric dimension, waste is the counterpart to a paranoid accumulation: wasting is sometimes a liberating action. Wasting time can be seen as a kind of luxury, as the opportunity to introduce a break, a crack in a monolithic routine. A waste crack should therefore be read under these two lenses. On one side, it is a precise gesture of metaphorically revealing and showing again to our short term memories that what is hidden under the grounds at the Circle Acres Nature Preserve former landfill. It reminds viewers of that which is buried, that which is not gone, and it will still influence our future, and the future of the generations coming after us. On the other, “Waste Crack” introduces a pause, both spatially and visually, as an interruption to the continuous surface of the grass field. But first and foremost, it invites us to take an experiential pause, as it provides for an opportunity to stop our movement, our gaze and our thoughts to inquire on what the crack itself reveals.
The crack is a crafted fissure conformed by rammed earth walls made from local sand which is colored with bright natural pigments at its base. Since the site was a former quarry, most of the soil will be collected from the site itself. Additional color strokes of soil from other nearby quarries at Austin will be inserted in the retaining walls to generate a colorful gradient. While formally defining a clear cut, an interruption, the rammed earth walls are made from the same soil as its surroundings, instituting a kind of gradient in density and precision of the site itself.
The vividly colored stripes at the base of the cavity introduce a further narrative: they remind us of the site’s past and the hidden substances we may find underground. All together, the layered soil speaks to us about the passage of time, and the unexpected beauty and treasures that cyclically the ground offers to give us back.
Local sand samples to be used.