Past Event

Experimental Preservation

October 22, 2020
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Artists Sam Van Aken and Jorge Otero-Pailos discussed experimental approaches to historic preservation with Carol Becker, Dean of Columbia University School of the Arts, and Gavin Browning, Director of Public Programs and Engagement.

Van Aken’s The Open Orchard is made of hybrid fruit trees—each “grafted with multiple varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and apples that originated or were historically grown in the New York City region over the past 400 years.” Once planted on Governors Island and in community gardens citywide, the project will reintroduce crops that have been lost to industrial agriculture while preserving biodiversity for future generations. 

Otero-Pailos’ site-specific Watershed Moment, installed in a ruined pool house on the Gilded Age Lyndhurst estate in Tarrytown, New York, combines water sounds and latex casts of dust that have been removed from decaying walls. Monumental in size, these glowing and suspended casts “envelop the bodies of visitors in the sounds of New York State’s main water bodies.” 

Tree of 40 Fruits Composite, image by artist Sam Van Aken
Artist Jorge Otero Pailos, working with latex, photo by Gina Levray
Artist Jorge Otero Pailos, photo by Gina Levray
Rendering by Sam Van Aken, image courtesy of the artist