“PARK” returns Fresh Kills Landfill to the people whose matter composes its monumental form.

Through a performance of things that are simultaneously coming together and apart, PARK reveals the underbelly of our material world. 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.

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. Under the auspices of the New York City Departments of Parks and Recreation and Sanitation, PARK has been made and remade at Fresh Kills in three consecutive years: 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Additional performances and installations have taken place at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY; RAW: Geographies Art festival at Reed College in Portland, OR; New York Live Arts Studio Series; Movement Research at Judson Church; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s LentSpace; and Dixon Place. To date over 14 iterations of this work have been made in theatrical and public spaces.

Numerous talks and workshops about the making of PARK have taken place at UC Berkeley, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University of Michigan, Temple University, and Sarah Lawrence College, among other places.

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, Enrico Wey, 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 Artspire/New York Foundation for the Arts. Funding for PARK has been provided by the Puffin Foundation. Commissioning support 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: Hillary Chapman, Rebecca Davis, James Simmons, Jeremy Pheiffer, Lorene Bouboushian, and audience