Exhibition organized by Jennifer Minner, Director of the Just Places Lab
Oct 10 - Nov 4, 2022, M-F 8am-4:30pmJohn Hartell Gallery, Sibley Dome
Oct 14, 2022 at 12:25pmAbbey and Howard Milstein Auditorium, Milstein Hall
Oct 14, 2022 at 5pmJohn Hartell Gallery, Sibley Dome
This series of events is sponsored by Cornell Council for the Arts, Clarence S. Stein Institute for Urban and Landscape Studies, and Department of City and Regional Planning.
The Just Places Lab seeks to illuminate how city planning and visual media can aid in the transformation of public imagination to see urban waste as a resource in the remaking of city futures. With the support of the Clarence S. Stein Institute for Urban and Landscape Studies, Just Places Lab researchers are conducting research and producing visual media – including maps, large-scale graphical posters, and videos – to trace both the impacts of construction and demolition debris and the innovation in deconstruction and reuse of building materials.
In tandem, an art exhibition by artist Jade Doskow will focus on the transformation of what was once the largest household waste dump on Earth into a massive urban park. Just Places Lab researchers will film Jade Doskow’s process and observations at Fresh Kills on Staten Island and produce a short video to be shared online in concert with an exhibition.
Both elements of this project are aimed at rethinking city landscapes of waste, including construction and demolition sites and the remediation of a landfill. The public will be invited to re-envision these places associated with waste through the lenses of circular economy and social justice. The production of creative media will be conducted in partnership with the Circularity, Reuse, and Zero Waste Development (CR0WD) network.
This exhibition will elevate the importance of public imagination related to circularity, land use, and waste. In operation from 1948-2001, Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island became the largest household garbage dump globally, receiving 150 million tons of New York City’s solid waste during that time. Staten Islanders fought to have the site closed for years, tired of living with the noxious odors and the notoriety the site created for their borough. Agreements between the State and City were made in the 1990s to close Fresh Kills once and for all and the last barge of garbage was accepted on March 22, 2001. The only time it was reopened was to accept materials from the World Trade Center tragedy in Manhattan in 2001, rendering a portion of the site historically significant into the future. It was in the early 2000s that the conceptualization of landfill as a wilderness park entered the civic conversation, and thus began a radical transformation. Now known as Freshkills, it is to date the largest landfill-to-park transformation on the planet.
Jade Doskow is the Photographer-in-Residence of Freshkills Park in New York City. Doskow’s large-scale photographs of the iconic New York landfill-turned-park make clear its paradoxical, ethereal beauty while creating an important archive of a major chapter within the story of New York City’s infrastructure. The topography of the site–undulating and sculpted by sanitation engineers and through Doskow’s lens–offers its complexity through her careful and probing large-format work, playing with scale and form, abstraction, and figuration. Doskow’s photographs highlight the immense complexity of Freshkills, both the luminous, open, meadows as well as the highly engineered systems enabling this modern wilderness to function.
During this time of climate catastrophe, Freshkills Park offers a compelling (albeit complicated and imperfect) and optimistic view of how visionary urban planners can take a landscape that has been destroyed and resurrect it, literally transforming the garbage of the U.S.’s most populous city and creating grasslands replete with rare species of flora and fauna, rolling hills dotted with flowers, and waterways once again attracting marine life. Doskow’s work asks us as such: if 2,200 acres of New York City’s household waste can be transformed into glorious meadowlands and woodlands, what else is possible?
The Freshkills Exhibition is relevant to the local community, especially as coordinated with the efforts of the Cornell Just Places Lab and the CR0WD network, which are working to encourage a reimagination of the built environment through promoting urban policies that support salvage and deconstruction. The reimagining of waste into resources, whether through the remediation of land or the reuse of buildings and building materials could profoundly change human relationships with society, place, and nature.
Jade Doskow (United States)
New York-based architectural and landscape photographer Jade Doskow is known for her rigorously composed and eerily poetic images that examine the intersection of people, architecture, nature, and time. Doskow is best-known for her work Lost Utopias, Freshkills, and Red Hook. Doskow holds a BA from New York University’s Gallatin School and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. She is the subject of the 2021 documentary Jade Doskow: Photographer of Lost Utopias; the film’s New York premiere was held at the International Center of Photography in October 2021 and has also screened at the Asheville Museum of Art and in film festivals internationally. Doskow was one of 50 women featured in the award-winning 2018 publication 50 Contemporary Women Artists from 1960 to the Present. Throughout her work, a sense of timeless monumentality in juxtaposition to modern details highlights surreal aspects of the contemporary cityscape. Doskow’s photographs have been featured in the New York Times, the Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR), Aperture, Photograph, Architect, Wired, Musée Mag, Smithsonian, Slate, and Newsweek Japan, among others. Doskow is on the faculty of the International Center of Photography and the City University of New York. Jade Doskow is the Photographer-in-Residence of Freshkills Park, New York City.
Heather Campanelli (United States)
Accompanying Doskow’s photographs are original compositions by the sound artist Heather Campanelli. Woven together from a combination of field recordings out on site and studio electronics, Campanelli’s soundscapes create a rich tapestry of birdsong, hissing methane wells, original tonalities, and traffic, that help encapsulate the unusual landscape on view in Doskow’s photographs.
Musician and composer Heather Campanelli’s multifarious music career started after earning her degree in Contemporary Music at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Shortly after, she worked as an editor and arranger for an international music publisher, until she realized her real passion was composing and music technology. She currently composes electronic music using her rapidly expanding collection of synthesizers and now, through the Freshkills project, has added field recordings into her arsenal of compositional tools. When she is not twiddling knobs in her studio, she can be found playing her keytar in the band Push for Heat, and doing sound for local theater groups. Website: heathercampanelli.bandcamp.com.