"Lamentations" installation piece in the exhibition "PostWaste: An Imperative for the Near Future"

In the early summer of 1996 I co-curated a gallery exhibition and public installation in Benicia California titled "PosteWaste: An Imperative for the Near Future". The "Postwaste" show was part of a collaborative effort between four galleries in the region, which focuses on waste and waste management: ways that the detritus of our post-industrial society shapes our lives, its potential for reuse, remediation, metaphorical meanings, and in the case of a neighborhood in Benicia-its harmful effects, even twenty-something years after burial of the waste. Kathryn Gunther, director of the Benicia Center for the Arts, and myself invited 15 Bay Area artists to respond to a waste management problem at Southampton, a middle-class housing project in Benicia. The houses on Rose Drive were built on a landfill, which started oozing toxic waste in 1990. Many homes were evacuated due to potential danger to toxic exposure. After five years, very little had been done to clean up the toxic waste, until our group of artists listened and responded in kind with art works and site specific installations created in response to the situation. Several of the installations were installed in one of the evacuated houses on Rose Drive. The exhibition, public art works, and symposium created around this exhibition helped mobilize the community into action.

"Lamentations" is a digital sound sculpture consisting of 15 glass specimen jars with stories from victims of toxic exposure etched onto each bottle. The bottles contain computer chips, motion sensors, and speakers. Each bottle emits sounds from the contaminated victims as they sensed the viewer's presence.

The symposium titled "State of our Waste" brought together artists, A Toxins Assessment Group, Waste Management Service Providers, and the Solano County Division of Environmental Health, to discuss the issues raised in "Postwaste: An Imperative for the Near Future."