Hazardous Sites

Good news: Alfred Jensen is now posted on Wikipedia. I worked on a new page for him last night. Creating a new "article", as Wikipedia terms it, however, is no easy feat. It took me a good 30 minutes just to figure out how to post new content. Wikipedia's interface could use a major ergonomic overhaul. Interface aside, I learned one critical thing from posting. It takes a lot of TLC to create an accurate, informative artist profile. After an hour, I barely had any content posted on Jensen. More work to come for sure.

Today's project of note is Superfund365, a web site conceived, designed, and produced by NYC digital media artist Brooke Singer. This project is total sensory overload, in the best possible way. Launched on September 1, 2007, it is part data mapping / part alert system and focuses on toxic sites currently active in the Superfund program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Superfund365 profiles one site per day and is slowly making its way across the country from NYC to Hawaii. Today, for instance, the web site profiles MRI Corp (category: industrial waste), a former tin scrap operation based in Tampa, Florida. Information provided on the site includes geographic location, hazardous ranking relative to other sites, clean-up costs when available, site description, timeline, and a kind of interactive pinwheel of contaminants. This was one of the coolest visualizations. The information is thoroughly immersive and guaranteed to send chills up your spine.

Singer has also confronted other tough issues in previous projects, including post-9/11 clean-up in Lower Manhattan, oil consumption by the United States, and camera surveillance, among others. I admire her seamless merger of the socio-political, aesthetic, and technological. We need more artists like her fighting the good fight.