PITTSBURGH ARTISTS EXHIBIT
BROWNFIELD DEVELOPMENT ALTERNATIVES
in the Rust Belt: Brownfields into Greenways is
a multi-media exhibition reflecting three years of analysis and community dialogue
on the issues of public space, art and ecology in the context of the controversial
Nine Mile Run development in the slag-filled hills of Pittsburgh’s East End.
Realizing the greenway project in the development will fulfill famous park designer
Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.’s vision for an extension of Frick Park and East End
access to the Monongahela River.
Directed by artists Bob Bingham, Tim Collins and Reiko Goto, and attorney John Stephen, the Nine Mile Run Greenway Project's interdisciplinary team includes a wide range of practitioners, including academics, Pittsburgh city officials and members of the community. Pittsburgh city planners Joan Blaustein and John Rahaim have provided access, overview and guidance as the team worked to develop its innovative plan and process. Sue Thompson and John Rawlins of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History have studied and inventoried land biodiversity, while Pennsylvania State University scientists, geomorphologist Peggy Johnson and wetland scientist Andrew Cole have analyzed the aquatic systems. David Dzombak, a civil engineer at Carnegie Mellon University, has tested the stream and analyzed various outfalls to pinpoint failures in adjacent sewage systems. Pennsylvania State University landscape architect Ken Tamminga has analyzed landscape ecology and restoration practices as they relate to the design process.
Commenting on the team's unique creative practice, Collins said, "We approach Nine Mile Run as a post-industrial landscape, an interconnected system of opportunities often constrained by industrial policies and practices. Our work is a systems intervention that addresses perception, communication and education. We engage our colleagues in the sciences to help us understand the issues, then we take specific action to affect the decision-making process."
Funded by a grant from the Howard Heinz Endowment, the Nine Mile Run Greenway Project Team was formed in 1996 to research the cultural issues and ecological opportunities pertaining to the public space at the Nine Mile Run development site. The work is a project of the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, an interdisciplinary center in the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon. The STUDIO was founded in 1989 to support experimental work in the arts, particularly work which engages complex systems. The project team has worked closely with the Pittsburgh City Planning Office and the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority.
in the Rust Belt: Brownfields into Greenways reflects
the issues facing all cities emerging from heavy industrial histories. The exhibit
integrates images and texts of the changing industrial landscape. Artist Bob
Bingham and historian Joel Tarr developed the historical presentation, which
included images from public and private archives throughout Western Pennsylvania.
Bingham has also directed the contemporary counterpoint to the historical imagery
in still photography as well as video. Video artist, X-Tina Hung has collaborated
on the video.
The post-industrial work features a slaggarden and interactive video presentations designed to immerse the viewer in a community discussion. Complex ideas on the relationship between nature and culture and between public and private sectors were presented in multiple media. Viewers passively experienced this presentation, and added their own comments, thereby expanding and continuing the dialogue. Artists Collins and Richard Pell have designed the interactive content and approach for this part of the exhibition. Jamie Schulte, an artist/interactive design engineer, has collaborated on the content and its related technology, while artist Goto, soil scientist John Buck and botanist Sue Thompson have produced the natural systems design. The video is directed by Bingham.
On-site at Nine Mile Run, the project team created "Slag Radio" to allow visitors to experience a narrative landscape as part of the physical landscape. Through a series of short-range radio transmitters placed along the stream, broadcasts of stories, historical audio clips and sound art compositions will offer contextual clues about the history and meaning of the place. The sounds will be accessible on a portable FM radio.
in Exhibiting Conversations
in the Rust Belt ?
Contact Tim Collins
STUDIO for Creative Inquiry
Carnegie Mellon University