Archive for August 2nd, 2007

River Cubes

With plans underway for the Scioto Mile riverfront renovation in downtown Columbus, perhaps it’s time to engage more folks in the process and use this as an event for education, conservation and art.

The clever folks in Pittsburgh made cleaning up the river(s) an event for art and discussion. Groups of artists and volunteers pull debris from the river’s edge and sculpt what’s knows as “River Cubes”, which are then placed on public display. Artful sculpture and also points of discussion on water quality, waste management, as well as reminders of inappropriate practices.

From the River Cubes web site:

RiverCubes are catalysts. They do whatever it is they do: surprise, confuse, delight, amuse, offend… They are an intervention into the ‘business as usual’ of waste. They intend to provoke thought and incite action. Footsoldiers in a public education campaign, RiverCubes are slices of time, breadcrumbs along a trail of urban watershed signatures. RiverCubes have work to do – and do their work best by being displayed in proximity to their collection sites. Each RiverCube has a personality drawn from the materials of which it is comprised and the context of its upbringing. Each “cube” has a name, a history, a future, and a story to tell. They tell their stories mutely. We witness and testify, laugh and frown. And take up their work…

While adorning our newest downtown park with rusted junk and twisted metal may not be something we want, long term, it may be the “temporary installation” needed to remind us what happens when we turn our back on the city’s natural elements.


On a personal note: While bicycling along the river, I once noticed an old safe resting at the river’s edge. It was perched precariously quite a ways from any road or street, and I wondered what events led to the current resting spot.

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