Inkwell Collective | Earthworks

InkwellCollective_ filaments[screenRes]

Title: Between Earthworks: Wayfinding in a modified watershed

Project: Earthworks Tour: Filaments

Firm: Inkwell Collective

Summary: The Earthworks Tour: Filaments are designed to navigate the dynamic landscape of the Green River Valley, and to inspire a deeper understanding of landscape restoration and stormwater management in the region. The permanent work shares a rich layering of landscape experience, interpretive imagery and conceptual relationships through 65 unique installations that marks the 24 mile Earthwork Tour. The installation links four seminal landart projects in the Green River Valley into one continuous narrative of water and landuse. Inspired by Herbert Bayer Earthwork, Robert Morris Earthwork, Green River Natural Resources Area and Lorna Jordan’s Waterworks Gardens, the design team applied a bold use of minimal aesthetic to critically engage the experience of place and processes.

Stormwater management is a major concern to residents of Kent, SeaTac, Tukwila and Renton (all within King County and minutes from Seattle). As the Earthworks Tour was being designed, miles of sandbags lined the Green River to prevent floodwaters from damaging homes and property, highlighting the urgency for inspirational alternatives to publicly engage natural processes. Successful repairs to the Howard Hanson Dam have since allowed 12 miles of the sandbags to be removed, yet the enormous costs of government, residents and businesses require continued exploration of how best to manage stormwater in the Green River Valley.

This installation is modernist in its simplicity, yet contemporary in its approach to communicating and gathering ideas via real and virtual means. The bicycle tour is more than a visit to a collection of sites; it is nourished as a series of filaments that weave a collective tapestry of engagement. Cultural tourism, environmental art, digital documentation, social media, interpretive signage, and multi-jurisdictional coordination ensure that this will be a truly radiant example of significant art in the everyday. As participants make their way along the tour, Filaments emphasizes the bond between the earthworks, the region, and its inhabitants. Rider experience, trail context, proximity to the Green River, regional history, community and municipal partnership, and of course the earthworks themselves, have all influenced the direction of the tour. Each element works together to develop scales of rider engagement, allowing rushing commuters, and leisurely strollers to find personalized textures of understanding. Accordingly, the individual installations stand out because of their uniquely minimalist form, careful use of bold color, clear directional cues, and scales of interpretation.