Friday, October 13 - 10:00AM to 10:50AM
Embassy Suites, River G-H
Since 2013 I have had unfettered access to photograph in the Santa Maria Regional Landfill. Sugar Street (the street in the landfill that runs parallel to the adjacent Santa Maria river) is situated directly alongside hundreds of acres of agricultural fields, where produce such as strawberries, carrots, and cauliflower are grown for Driscoll's and Bolthouse Farms. To me this place is like an alien landscape, wholly foreign to my eyes, filled with visual juxtapositions. It is a place of verdant green hills that conceal thousands of tons of garbage.
The landfill is also the site of an extraordinary practical engineering solution happening behind the scenes, as this particular landfill has developed an innovative program of recycling soil that had been previously contaminated by the oil industry. I'm interested in the visual and conceptual paradoxes that present themselves: the perfect, iconic forms of the commercially-grown produce juxtaposed with the ever-changing artificial hills of the landfill site, native wildflowers returning to grow on the newly cleansed soil.
I will present the arc of this ongoing four-year project and contextualize it with geographical and ecological information related to energy consumption and monoculture. This particular location and photographic series is a microcosm of a larger cycle that is occurring in the nascent economy of renewable energy sources and perpetually relevant considerations of land management.