Ephemeral Monuments: Place-based storytelling through installations, audio, and augmented reality
How can we make a landscape speak its secrets? Can a construction dump be a stage for performing history? Can our bodies help us process the past and envision the future? Susan Moffat has been experimenting with using installations, participatory art, and performances to reveal hidden histories in public space. In Spring 2021 students in her undergraduate course, Ghosts and Visions, created a mile-long tour of the history of California's extractive industries at a former dump on San Francisco Bay called Monument to Extraction. By making outdoor sculptures, an audio tour, and augmented reality projects, the students told stories of the exploitation of Chinese immigrant labor in the dynamite industry, World War II industrialization, housing segregation, and industrial agriculture.
Moffat will speak about the project as one facet of the work of the UC Berkeley Future Histories Lab, which she directs and which offers students a chance to research and reveal Bay Area histories in partnership with local communities while earning a Certificate in Urban Humanities.
Presented by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative.
Susan Moffat is a curator, urban planner and writer who works at the intersection of culture, nature and place, with a special interest in race, parks, and public space. As Creative Director of Future Histories Lab and Executive Director of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative, she leads the development of community partnerships, courses, and workshops and teaches humanities studios. A former journalist, she has a deep belief in the power of stories to make change. She worked in affordable housing, environmental advocacy and shoreline planning. Moffat is the founder and executive director of Love the Bulb, an arts organization dedicated to protecting the creative spirit of the Albany Bulb landfill. She has an AB in History and Literature from Harvard University, an MS in Journalism from Columbia University, and a Master in City Planning from UC Berkeley. Read more.