9. Machinist Landscape

Description: The Machinist Landscape is a competition proposal (LAGI 2011) for an installation in Fresh Kills Park (Staten Island NY). It interrogates the difference between what was built and what had been proposed (Field Operations 2006). Through overlays and mappings the Machinist Landscape exposes “gaps” between the plan setting out a 200ft grid of gas collection points and the deviations from that grid that were ultimately built.

As an artwork and as an art process the Machinist Landscape is proposed as a place of creative production and destruction. The “gaps” are planted with coppice to create carbon neutral renewable energy and for rediscovering other uses of charcoal and linoleum production, smoke houses and fertiliser. Initial stages of the coppice process involve growing, producing and creating. Each time the coppice is cut back the roots recede to avoid damaging the protective clay cap that encases the garbage below and separates the waste conditions from the historic ecologies and the social programme of Lifescape.

Anticipating a final release of embodied energy from the decomposing waste the entropic grid of the Machinist Landscape will be allowed to overstand. The coppice grid will no longer be cut back but rather it will be allowed to grow taller and its roots grow deeper. As the coppice becomes woodland the clay cap will be penetrated and the artificially separated layers of Lifescape will be connected. New processes will create a celebratory phase of growth, production and destruction.

The project was selected to be exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2013 and was published in Revising Green Infrastructure: Concepts Between Nature and Design (Czechowski et al. 2015).

Date: 2011
Ed Wall
Mike Dring
Greg Keeffe
Antonios Papanastasiou