ground cover

This project is aligned with a series of projects like Accessories to an Event,  and Archive (one ton), that begin with a material focus on reprocessed-post consumer plastics. In this case the colorful material that Groundcover is made of is from a unique source of first generation reprocessed plastics from the mid 1980's These materials predates the widely available recycled plastics that are now found in many consumer products.  The colors here are entirely random as post-consumer plastic products were collected, granulated, heated, then endlessly extruded into plank-like form.  Groundcover was conceived more as a storage strategy for a generally misused material than as a flooring design solution. The modular herringbone design in this case, suggests the possibility of endless expansion--waste plastics that can be incorporated into a system that can grow and grow, perhaps absurdly, as it fixes petrochemical material into a stable structure.  This project began with a mindful attention to minimalist sculptural forms, perhaps most obviously Carl Andre's metal floor pieces, but the nature of this material source introduces a more open-ended level of ecological speculation and complicated relation to audience

As an archive of material, Groundcover quietly occupies public space, insistently reminding us of the massive flows of material that drift in and out of our consumer-based consciousness. Drift is a useful concept here not only in relation to the motion of waste materials and recycling processes but also in relation to audiences and public engagement.  Groundcover was first installed in 1990 along Michigan Avenue as a temporary public sculpture installation. Coincidentally, the City Department of Cultural Affairs was launching a live music and dance program called Chicago Summer dance and explored with the artist, the possibility of using Groundcover as a temporary dancefloor.  In years that followed the Summer dance program grew in popularity along with a desire to keep Groundcover as the primary dance floor.  This meant growing the piece, shifting locations, maintaining it,  as summer dance grew into what is frequently referred to as the largest annual outdoor live music and dancing series in the United States. Groundcover continues to function in this hybrid capacity as both backdrop to a major urban public dance event, and ecologically conceived sculptural proposal.