'WHAT LIES BENEATH THE SURFACE'
Since I began 'The Ashland Nyanza Project', people have been asking where is the contamination today? To answer this I created a spatial intervention where the scientific color gradients of the below-grade contamination are transposed to the existing street lighting grid. Given that the Nyanza site had 100 different source chemicals, what remains is a unique cocktail of sludge below grade. The plume moves around across time but the concentrations appear fairly consistent. The colors signify areas of concentration- Red being the most concentrated and slowly decreasing into Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and the Purple roughly mapping the extents of the monitoring area. The result is a polychromatic environment that shifts color in order to create a new cognitive map of place.
The Ashland-Nyanza Project was featured at the Practice Space in Cambridge Ma. as part of their ‘City Box’ series, an ongoing exploration into various contexts contained within their display case situated near their front window. For this installation I added a set of programmable lights that change hue, showing how color impacts our perception of the everyday and how different hues can both reveal and conceal truths.
Within the Ashland Public Library resides one of the EPA's first Field Repositories for a Superfund Site. During the initial stages of cleanup in 1988, the people of Ashland demanded that remediation findings be made public and the EPA agreed to launch this important program. Over 25 years later as we look at the collection of binders, we can skim the history of the contaminants. What's not here are the stories of people, how they were impacted, the culture of loss—the narrative of the contaminated. This exhibit juxtaposed the qualitative stories from people within the space of the quantitative data from the EPA. Working with the EPA and using their data, a scale model and set of mappings helped people orient and to project their own memories onto this subject. It culminated in an reflection station where visitors could browse new books that we purchased under the subject of ecology and leave us their own personal reflections.
This is located on a town owned parcel behind the left-field fence at the Ashland Middle School Baseball Field. The healing garden transforms a publicly accessed area near the Superfund site into a space for contemplation. With a local team overseen by the New England Laborers Training Academy, we have created a polychromatic sundial and a rainwater harvest table for the Ashland Public Schools science curriculum to use. Here you can retreat and consider the overall implications of the various histories, geographies, and human impact on this high ground known as Megunko Hill.
To access the garden, you can park on the MBTA access road and walk along a path behind the Baseball Field. We are currently working with the Town to create an access point on the road as well as signage along the road.
In the summer of 2017 the colored plexiglass panels were vandalized, unfortunately. If you’re interested in making a donation towards the repairs and the overall maintenance costs of this site, we have partnered with the Arts Company, a Cambridge-based non-profit that has supported this project from the outset.
Do you know someone from Ashland who has passed away from cancer? Are you interested in having a stone granite paver engraved with your loved one's name? We have a local vendor ready to create these memory stones for us!
Or are you interested in volunteering on the creation of Phase II, notably the plantings of the Public Garden elements? If so, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Click below to view the stand alone website for this project
The sociologist Ulrich Beck has stated that we live in a ‘Risk Society’ and that risk is spread unevenly in relation to the rewards of profit. In relation to Ashland’s Nyanza Superfund Site, I noticed how we in Ashland took on the risk of color production while the profits went to the urban sales offices; Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago amongst others. I filled a briefcase of dirty dirt from Ashland and went to Chicago to return it to the office that once sold products that contaminated our people. It was a performance of futility with my own failure to reverse the extraction process and reverse the remittance with dirt. Why? Because when I went to the exact location of the previous offices I discovered that the building and even the street address no longer exist.
This section represents the research phase of the Ashland Nyanza Project. I began this project as a Master's of Design Studies student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) concentrating in Art, Design, and the Public Domain. The various methodologies explored here include mappings, drawings, gifs, videos, and models. For a downloadable travelogue on the research, click below.
A manifesto to restore democracy and truth in the republic
Conceived at the Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) and presented as part of Emmanuel Pratt’s Radical [Re] Constructions, at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum“We The Publics” is a manifesto authored by Emmanuel Pratt and Dan Borelli that offers a multi-layered framework to rethink and examine the role, power, and purpose of the public in shaping and influencing the spatial evolution of the built environment.
We invite your responses via conversations, workshops, emails, installations, and public convenings but we reserve full editorial oversight to sustain the intention of this project- our shared responsibility towards a productive collective.
We introduced a material shift in newsprint that represented specific voices that we ask to respond with a brief quote or further definition of Publics.
We must restore a sense of equilibrium to our Publics
To shared resources for All
For the Ecology of the Future
We ask that you review our Proposition for a 28th Amendment
Make it Public
There is an interesting set of object relations in how we shape our national identities to geological formations. In the case of the current form of the U.S.A., we claim the Plymouth Rock in Plymouth Massachusetts as a type of creationist folklore as white settlers were alleged to have landed on the rock in 1620. Yet, the first documented claim of this story occurs in 1741 meanwhile the rock has been moved, cracked, and portions have been removed and are in other locations; a chunk is in a church in Brooklyn New York for example. In 1880 the majority of the rock was moved back to the shoreline in Plymouth and staged along a wharf with an architectural structure and, during this restaging of history, the date ‘1620’ was inscribed on its surface.
Mayflower and Native American Markers
Meanwhile the ‘Mayflower’ ship, a replica, is visible just north as it’s docked in downtown Plymouth Harbor. Its complicated histories are latent and marked only by a ‘Squanto’ statue that stands on a hillside as a prominent noble savage. There is no set of objects or markers with inscriptions authored by the Wampanoag Tribe down by the Harbor but I did find a rock with a plaque placed by the ‘United American Indians of New England, in honor of Metacomet (King Philip). It states that upon his execution his head was impaled on a pike and displayed in the public space of Plymouth for 20 years. One hand was sent to Boston and the other to England and his surviving family and many of the Native American combatants were sold into slavery in the West Indies by the English victors.
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant
Just south of the Plymouth Rock the shore turns and creates an inward horseshoe shape that is not visible from the shore. Within this shape sites the aptly named Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant. Set for decommissioning in 2020, it holds the worst possible safety rating by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. There are no clear plans for how the spent casings and radioactive waste will be safely handled, stored, and possibly permanently interred in Plymouth.
The existing radio tower has roughly 16 horizontal datums with tapering verticals that begin at 19’ wide at the base with the top tiers being nearly 4’ wide with an estimated height of 150 feet. In conceiving of the Polychromatic Sundial I focused on transforming the upper vertical tiers to maximize the experiential impact beyond the parcel. This chromatic gesture will make people more conscious that we use these vertical beacons as wayfinding devices throughout our urban environments and to create a new aesthetic anchor for this neighborhood.
This tetrahedral structural system has a formal and communication precedent in the work of Alexander Graham Bell. Inspired in part by Bell, I was also compelled to actively dematerialize the form through the work of Buckminster Fuller, see the image here. There’s also a pragmatism behind the choice, to use the divisions of the structure to divide the material and stay within available material dimensions.
This project was a proposition for the Western Ave corridor in Allston Massachusetts and remains in a conceptual phase. Ideally we would obtain funding to explore the feasibility of the concept after a careful study of the existing structure is conducted.
Continuing the focus on color and identity- this series explores how colors, designs, and symbols shape our sense of self both individually and collectively through the compositions in the national flags of sovereign states. The name is a double-entendre, as ‘Leviathan’ is more commonly referred to as a powerful sea monster that threatens humanity and yet this reference obscures the important book by Thomas Hobbes on the social contract of statecraft and the important role that governments can, and should, play in avoiding war. I
The first image is a compilation of all 24 countries whose flags are comprised only of Red, White, and Blue. The second image compiles all 14 countries that feature weaponry. The third image superimposes the wireframe design all flags, from every country, from all over the world. guess this project asks the question, if we’re too reliant upon nationalism to form our identities, aren’t we creating a new ‘Leviathan’, a type of monster that threatens humanity?
The artistic concept is based on the analog animation technique of the zoetrope, but rather than have a static graphic applied to the walls, I will program the lighting to daily shift its color and patterns. The sequence is specific to your motion through the Cambridge Street Underpass; from a distance you will see light leaking from the mouth of this urban cave. As you descend into the tunnel you enter into a saturated field of color and your vehicular motion blends the lighting stations into a ‘chromatrope’. Traveling at a rate of 25 miles per hour, it will take you around 10 seconds to traverse the full length of the tunnel transforming this space into an urban device for animation.
For pedestrians and bikers alike, the walls will appear as abstract fields of color and blend at their specific rates of speed. Given the amount of control available to program the lighting, this project will become a dynamic public art piece. Each day will be a unique experience based upon the spatial programming outlined by the artist.
Project originated for the City of Cambridge Massachusetts, and is currently on hold awaiting final installation.
This consists of a quick-hitting tutorial across ‘Color Economies’ to evidence our own social bias of color systems thereby elevating the experiential over the alphanumerical. Color is relation, slippery, and deeply personal. To heighten one’s own perceptual apparatus, I created a set of boxes that only have primary colors and yet, when viewed in person, you can experience the combination of the separate colors and a third color emerges. I culminate the lesson in individual surveys. You can contact Dan directly if you’re interested in hosting a color tutorial, learning your own unique color profile with the opportunity to obtain your one of a kind color object.
This photo series explores the various field notation drawings in preparation for the Ashland Nyanza project within a closed environment of color fields and shifting lighting conditions.
This is a foray into the global production of color for textiles and how this is the second-most polluting industry, only to the petro-chemical industry. Given the prevalance of chromatic saturation in our clothing today, the question arises, where is color produced today? Have we simply performed contamination shifting by pushing these processes and their toxicity onto other cultures?
As Ashland Massachusetts is referred to as “The Home of the Electric Clock’ this set of works addresses the various methods that we register time- water dripping on paper at the rate of one second per drop, the 30 degree rotation of hours on a clock face, folding paper across years, and strings and sticks as measuring distances of time.
A photo series that reverses the tunneling effect of perception.
These are live drawings that occur while riding public transportation. The paremeters are simple- to record what is perceived without erasure. The result is a complex weave of transcalar notations.
This painting cycle consists of a grisaille study with silver enamel that explores the simultaneity of the ‘Durations in Transit’ as the lines compress and contract across city, landscape, typography, people, and jumping from line to planes creates a new cognitive field of immanence.