Finding Refuge in Refuse at the Albany Bulb Landfill. Exhibition debuts at SOMArts in SF, February 12, 6-9PM, 2015 Curators: Robin Lasser (lead artist) with Barbara Boissevain and Danielle Siembieda Albany Bulb Community Advisors, Andy Kreamer and Amber Whitson Sponsors: F3 and Associates, SOMArts, San Jose State University, General Graphics
The Atlas of the Albany Bulb is a ongoing participatory oral history and mapping project that aims to capture the natural and cultural history of this unique spot on San Francisco Bay. The collection of narratives about this former landfill will grow into a quilt of diverse stories and images as more people contribute. The first batch of stories and maps is being displayed February 12 to March 14, 2015, at the SOMArts gallery in San Francisco as part of its Refuge in Refuse exhibit.
To participate, or to be informed when the Atlas website goes live, sign up at albanybulbatlas.org.
The Atlas is part of the UC Berkeley Global Urban Humanities Initiative, which is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. UC Berkeley students from the departments of archeology, architecture, biology, city planning, information design, and landscape architecture have contributed research to the Atlas. Visit globalurbanhumanities.berkeley.edu.
The Atlas of the Albany Bulb is produced with the generous support of the Cal Humanities Community Stories grant program. Visit http://www.calhum.org.
The exhibit also included participatory documentary approaches in excerpts from the Atlas of the Albany Bulb, a project of the interdisciplinary U.C. Berkeley Global Urban Humanities Initiative. Susan Moffat, project director of the Atlas, states: “Every story happens in a place, and every map is a narrative with a point of view. Our Atlas engages in spatial storytelling by using the spoken word, sounds, and images to capture local knowledge.” The Atlas project distributed disposable cameras to Bulb residents and asked them to shoot photographs and then narrate slide shows about what was important to them. The residents also helped create detailed maps of the Bulb’s public and spiritual spaces. At the exhibit, visitors were encouraged to draw with felt-tip pens on DIY Bulb maps. Students also created interactive online maps of the site’s ever-changing art. These evolving materials can be viewed at albanybulbatlas.org. Contemporary archeology is an important part of the Atlas.Graduate student Annie Danis led a team of 25 that carefully catalogued the public spaces, foundations of homes, and artifacts left by recently evicted residents. Writes Danis: “Conventionally, archaeology is the study of humans in the past. But what counts as the past and who counts as human? This project appreciates the speed at which the past and present collide at the Albany Bulb and the layers of human connection on a landform that is itself an artifact.” Danis says that the project aims not only to document “the ingenuity, perseverance, and humanity of the people who made their homes here,” but to explore “small things forgotten” in the course of modern life.