Revival Field (1991)
Mel Chin’s Revival Field (1991) is one of those works which expands the definition of what art is, instead of being seen as a individual pursuit the project, which first started in Minnesota at a landfill in St Paul, relies on the collaboration with varied institutes, scientists and the community. The work is industrial fencing on a hazardous waste landfill using special hyperaccumulators (plants which are able to grow in soil with high concentration of metals) to extract heavy metals which are polluting the soil.
Within the fencing there was intersecting paths that formed an X, showing the area as a target, a metaphorical reference to the work pin-point clean up, it also had a function to separate the varied plants from each other for research. The study was to find a green remediation, studying the plants capability of cleaning out the metals from the soil creating a natural method of cleaning up toxic waste caused by metals.
Mel Chin sculpts a site’s ecology using art in a selfless way to create environments which reconnect nature and culture., making us aware of the damage done to our environment however there is a solution to finding a ecologically conscious approach to living. This work shows the power of what artist can do if they do collaborative projects, creating functional work which can change our very ecological system.