Exercise 5.4

Mapping Change – Photography as Research

Find a place that you believe is in the process of change driven by human activity. Specifically, human activity that you believe is harmful to our wider, shared environment.
● Write a short description on why you believe this to be the case (around 250 words ). This place could be very local to you or further afield.
● Create a map to show the exact location of this place. You could draw and create your own map or use your smartphone/mapping software to precisely locate this place. Record your method, describe in words or with screen grabs the processes of your map making, and add this to your learning log.
● Produce a series of 6-12 photographic images which research the changes you believe are taking place. Consider how best to present the images and in what sequence to best communicate the changes you believe are taking place. Upload your results to your learning log.

LP&E, p.176

As noted in Exercise 5.2,

Working on Asg.5, and reinforced by Part 5.3 on Agnes Denes’ Wheatfield … (with which I am becoming a little fixated) I am moving towards concentrating throughout Part 5 on Plant Use and Abuse, a theme that I have pursued for years and which broke into this course in EyV Asg.1.

Exercise 5.2

Accordingly, I will map the Wheatfield.

Mapping Denes’ Wheatfield

[5Sep22] Agnes Denes has done all the work on establishing Manhattan and The Battery as a place of change and ecological harm. Al-Qaeda followed this up on 9/11 with a demonstration of the harm of human conflict.

But back to the Wheatfield and its precise location. There are two categories of information available, both in the form of photographs:
1. Denes’ own documentation of her 1982 project; and
2. Less specific images of the area available on the internet.
and Google Maps

It is important to note the rectangular space on the shoreline, arrowed in fig B2. The area is called South Cove and there is an indentation in the sea wall which seems to have been constructed at the time the Twin Towers were being built, when the waste and excavations from the construction was dumped at The Battery (Watson, n.d.). North of that is the aptly named North Cove.

Now the evidence from Denes’ own documentation.

Fig D1, is from an article on TheIndy web site, The College Hill Independent (“a Providence-based publication … by students from Brown University and … an open, leftist, consciousness-raising workshop for writers and artists”, and from this collaborative space we publish 20 pages of politically-engaged and thoughtful content once a week” (https://www.theindy.org/about, n.d.)). This image seems to depict the North Cove, judging from the proximity of the Twin Towers and the fact the shoreline forms a straight line interrupted by the cove. Fig. D2 shows the South Cove, the shoreline matching the Wheatfield image D3/C4 and the map, fig. B2, with the shoreline to the south of the cove is not sloping away. It may therefore be concluded that the Wheatfield was adjacent to the South Cove.

The Statue of Liberty is visible in the distance from the Wheatfield in fig. C3. The National Park Service (NPS) maintains a web page on the statue stating that it, “faces Southeast … perfect for ships, entering the harbor, to see her as a welcoming symbol” (NPS, 2022). The images on Agnes Denes’ web site lack detail, but the view of the statue appears to be a right profile (fig. D4) — if it is facing south east then the statue’s right side would be to the north east, which is consistent with the suggestion of the Wheatfield being adjacent to South Cove.
Looking in the opposite direction, north-east from the Statue (fig. D5, 1972) the Twin Towers are clearly visible and we are trying to confirm the position of the Wheatfield between the two landmarks, ten years later.

Fig D6 shows the Twin Towers, viewed from the Wheatfield. The North Tower (with the visible mast, the tower struck first on 9/11, see fig. D7) is furthest from the Wheatfield which means that the Wheatfield is south of the Towers.

Each of these reference points (examining the location of the coves, the Statue of Liberty and the Towers) reinforce that the Wheatfield was situated south of the Towers, north east of Statue, adjacent to South Cove. Fig.D8 shows an approximate mapping of the 1982 Wheatfield onto a current Google Map of the land around the South Cover based on Fig. C4 / D3.

LPE Exc 5.4 References

Alexander, J, Conroy, A, Hughes, A, & Lundy, G (2019) Landscape, Place and Environment [LPE]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.

Blair, A. (2011) The World Trade Center, Battery Park City and The Battery. [online]. flickr.com. Available from https://www.flickr.com/photos/wavz13/4084659026/in/photostream/ [Accessed 6 September 2022].

Google Maps (2022) @40.7103878,-74.0131298,17.02z [online]. google.com. Available from https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7103878,-74.0131298,17.02z [Accessed 6 September 2022].

NPS (2022) Get the Facts [online]. nps.gov/stli. Available from https://www.nps.gov/stli/planyourvisit/get-the-facts.htm [Accessed 8 September 2022].

Tavlin, A. (2016) Art and Politics in Battery Park City [online]. theindy.org. Available from https://www.theindy.org/article/892 [Accessed 6 September 2022].

theindy.org (n.d.) About [online]. website. Available from https://www.theindy.org/about [Accessed 6 September 2022].

Watson, JR. (n.d.) I ❤ NY Discover the City [online]. jamesrobertwatson.com. Available from https://www.jamesrobertwatson.com/nycpix.html [Accessed 6 September 2022].