Location: Los Angeles, CA, United States
Completion date: 2014
Artwork budget: $85,000
This was an installation for a new Environmental Learning Center for the Hyperion Wastewater Treatment plant. Processing millions of gallons of waste per day, it is the last stop for all of Los Angeles County’s waste before heading out to the ocean. The infrastructure to process this waste has grown proportionately to development in Los Angeles over the last 100 years and we wanted to create a visual time-stamp of where we were at. We created a sculpture (named in honor of the greek god which the plant shares his name) that is a visualization of sewer infrastructure in LA county in 2009, the year of our being commissioned. The south facing exterior wall is treated as the entirety of LA County, broken into a grid, proportional to the Thomas Guide grid. Deformation of the surface was determined by pipe dimensions within the wastewater network to determine a new topography for LA, one based on experiencing the invisible infrastructure beneath us which handles our waste. Fashioned from recycled street signs collected from Caltrans over a three year period, the artwork symbolizes, ELC’s mission to protect public health and environment through public education.
The Environmental Learning Center was developed as an engaging, interactive learning environment that explains sustainable principles for everyday life. The artwork highlights the goals of the center in both material choice (repurposed Caltrans roadsigns) and subject matter (mapping wastewater).
Artists formed a relationship with Caltrans to collect roadsigns for over a year. They worked with ELC staff and the treatment plant engineers to visualize wastewater data and interpret the data into a sculptural form. Together the team and surrounding community identified the best site for the artworks integration into the building facade.