PETRIFIED RIVER for Cooper Hewitt, NYC, 2019
Petrified River is a site-specific installation that occupied Cooper Hewitt Design Museum’s garden during the 2019 Design Triennial exhibition, Nature.
It is part of a research project that explores hybrid typologies merging landscape with infrastructure attributes in order to produce infrastructural works that become extensions of the landscape or artificial landscapes which perform as infrastructures.
To materialize this investigation in a museum context, in NYC, and right across from Central Park, we look at the history of the city. The transformation process of Manhattan from wild nature to urbanized flattened land has involved enormous efforts and a massive exploitation of the land –digging, leveling, exploding, reclaiming, filling– and the consequential disappearance of some of its original geographical features.
The proposal, a hill, a river and a pond –made of concrete– serves as a petrified metaphor of the rich landscape that Manhattan once was, when it was still known as Mannahatta or “island of many hills”. It is meant to embody the intriguing collision between the infrastructural, the industrial, the artistic, the geological... the difficult balance between the artificial and the natural.
The installation was on exhibit from May 10 to September 22 of 2019, when it travelled to Tippet rise Art Center, in Montana, to become part of its permanent collection.
©James Florio Photography