In 2007, I produced an online data visualization application, Superfund365, that everyday for a year highlighted a different toxic contamination site in the US. Currently I am working on a photography and book project drawing from that large online archive and my personal experiences visiting communities across the nation affected by Superfund.
I am choosing which sites to photograph for a variety of reasons: the site has a fascinating history, a site’s stakeholders are in contention over its future use, a site’s history is exemplary of how places become contaminated or a site appears anything but toxic. Sometimes an eloquent user contribution to the online archive compels me to visit.
Many of my photographs emphasize the extreme ordinariness of the locations (they are everywhere). Some of the places are rendered invisible through neglect. Others seem to belie their Superfund status through the development of new uses over time.
In its entirety, the project can be read as an alternative history to the United States as it traces the development and confluence of industries, economies, ecologies, land use and environmental health over time.
For more information and images, please email brooke AT bsing DOT net.
This project has received support from: New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Headlands Center for the Arts and Eyebeam Art + Technology.