check out the latest video : TIDE FIELD, art on the Schuylkill

Thirteen-thousand steel stems create a diagram of the vacant plot, creating a memory of the landscape that existed on the site before the museum was built.

URBAN OLDFIELD:

DIAGRAM OF A VACANT PLOT

Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1998

Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA

2004

Steel rods, Mylar, rubber, paper, leather vinyl, copper tops, particle board, sound

3 feet tall x 65 feet wide x 78 feet long

 

 

Across the floor and the downstairs galleries, a field of steel stems details the mosaic growth pattern of a vacant lot landscape. Before the museum was built, the site had been a vacant lot. Thirteen thousand stems of different tops, caps, and angles diagram the thirteen species of pflants that would be growing in a vacant lot in this region.

Across the floor and the downstairs galleries, a field of steel stems details the mosaic growth pattern of a vacant lot landscape. Before the museum was built, the site had been a vacant lot. Thirteen thousand stems of different tops, caps, and angles diagram the thirteen species of pflants that would be growing in a vacant lot in this region.

Each species has different heights and growth patterns: great mono-cultural stands, rosettes, and singular stems. Open paths meander through the field, allowing viewers to walk through the entire lot. 

A soundtrack recorded in a nearby vacant lot brings in bird songs, drones of airplanes, and accelerating cars and buses.

The field provides a tranquil space to think about the native life on the other side of the museum walls that would otherwise thrive in the very space in which these steel stems bristle across the gallery floor.