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Solar lights map the flow of rainwater off the Staten Island Landfill

Engineered to Drain

Fresh Kills Landfill Staten Island, New York, 2001

A proposal for Fresh Kills: Artist Respond to the Closure of the Staten Island Landfill organized by Snug Harbor Cultural Center


Solar lights, blue gels, poles

Rainwater percolating through the garbage in a landfill creates a toxic liquid which is far more difficult to control than a dry pile of garbage. Preventing rainwater from coming in contact with the garbage is a landfill’s first duty. So the landfill is covered with an impermeable cap to prevent the rain from seeping in. But the rain must flow off the landfill during every storm event. Engineered to Drain maps the flow of rainwater down and across the umbrella of the capped landfill. Solar lights placed to mark the rainfall’s path go on as darkness falls, making the project visible only at dusk and in the night. Like the invisible runoff, the project is not always perceivable.

While this project was slated to be installed in September of 2001, the changed role of the Fresh Kills landfill after September 11th means that this and other pieces intended for the exhibition have yet to be built.

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