“PARK” returns Fresh Kills Landfill to the people whose matter composes its monumental form. It translates the cultural and aesthetic ambiguity of this early era of remediation, before Fresh Kills fully transitions from wasteland to parkland, and our memory of the landfill vanishes. 

Fresh Kills Landfill is in an experiential state of becoming as it is reclaimed from trauma. The largest landfill in the world when it closed in 2000, Fresh Kills draws immense interest locally, nationally and globally as it undergoes a 30-year transformation into a park. It is the largest landfill-to-park project ever.

In 2010 and 2011, Westwater received rarely awarded artistic residencies at Fresh Kills during which choreographic scores were created that respond to and evoke the experience of the site in its current liminal state -- no longer landfill and not yet parkland.

Revealing the underbelly of our material world, PARK has been made and remade at Fresh Kills (2012, 2011, 2010) and beyond, including the Sculpture Park of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s LentSpace; RAW: Geographies Art festival at Reed College in Portland, OR; and New York Live Arts Studio Series. So far over 14 iterations have been made.

PARK collaborators are poet Jennifer Scappettone and architect Seung Jae Lee. Additional collaborators include musicians Tamio Shiraishi and Sean Meehan, and an evolving cast of established and emerging performers that has included, Abby Block, Rebecca Brooks, Rebecca Davis, Ursula Eagly, Megan Flynn, Melissa Guerrero, Belinda He, Aaron Mattocks, Kazu Nakamura, and others.

To see an experiential video of the Fresh Kills moundscape, click here. 

Press Quote:

If the current environmental crisis proves anything, it is how unnatural “nature” actually is. Which is to say, how increasingly what has been perceived as “natural” is contingent on human involvement and error. Kathy Westwater’s latest work, PARK ... performs both an unmaking and remaking of worlds in the midst of ecological calamity. -Thom Donovan, The Brooklyn Rail  READ MORE

Audience Quotes:

Fresh Kills would have remained, as far as I can see, forever 'invisible' without PARK interspersed with the place in its meso or raw state; not an open wound, and not yet polished parkland. Leaving the mound behind I just kept saying to myself it's safe to use words again and to move again whereas it might not have ever been, again, or before without the complicity of the unspeakable slop pile and the presence and permeation of [Westwater's] work upon. -Robert Kocik

I felt like I was dreaming while I was watching it, so much so that I kept wanting to close my eyes so I wouldn't wake up! I found it very comforting and creepy at the same time - kind of David Lynch mixed with a soft blanket.” -Sarah Rosner

“PARK” is a sponsored project of The Field. Funding for “PARK” has been  provided by the Puffin Foundation. Commissioning support of ”PARK” has been provided by Dance Theater Workshop’s Studio Series Commissioning and Creative Residency Program with support from The Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Jerome Robbins Foundation. Additionally, “PARK” is made possible through residencies from Freshkills Park's Arts Program, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation; iLAND, Inc.’s, iLAB Residency Program; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Swing Space program through a real estate donation from Savanna; Millay Colony for the Arts; The Rockbridge Artist Exchange, a program of the CDCT, in Lexington, VA; and The Field’s Artist Residency program, supported by the Tides Foundation. This work began at Djerassi Resident Artists Program.

Kathy Westwater, “PARK: Fresh Kills #2” (2011) photo: Marina Zamalin dancers: Rebecca Davis & Jeremy Pheiffer with audience