Earthwork(s) (Re)Inhabited is a proposal to create temporary public installations at two landmark earthworks projects located in the King County area: the Robert Morris Earthwork / Johnson Pit 30 located in Kent, and the Gas Works Park located in Seattle. Both sites share similar yet unique histories. The Robert Morris Earthwork involved the reclamation of an abandoned gravel pit (Johnson Pit 30) through its transformation into Land Art in 1979 by celebrated artist Robert Morris. The Gas Works Park involved the reclamation of a former gas plant (Seattle Gas Company) through its transformation into a public park in 1975 by celebrated landscape architect Richard Haag. Through their interventions to these “technologically-altered landscapes”, Morris and Haag used Art and Landscape to highlight our precarious relationship with the environment.
We propose to create an installation at each site that will reveal the dichotomies inherent between the Robert Morris Earthwork and Gas Works Park: rural/urban; mining/production; cut/fill; art/landscape; past/future. At both sites, closely spaced translucent monofilament fishing line will be stretched taut across a selected portion of each site, establishing an ethereal and ghostlike horizon plane that in tandem with the existing topography will define a new ‘interior’ and ‘exterior’ space, and will serve as a datum for visitors to view the site in a new way. The resulting shimmering plane, at times transparent and at times reflective, will allow for multiple interpretations by the viewer depending on their viewing location. Seen from above, the experience may evoke a lake that has filled an abandoned quarry, or a man-made reservoir. Seen from below, the experience may bring to mind the ball courts of Mayan archaeological ruins, or perhaps allude to the level of soil that has since been removed from the site. Yet, while the installation materials and techniques will be identical at both sites, the distinct topographies of each site will produce completely different spatial experiences.