Mel Chin

03 / 03 / 2000
Lecture / Presentation

Discussion over the projects "Revival Fields" and "In the Name of the Place"
Mel Chin (USA)

Mel Chin lecture, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, 03 / 2000


Revival Fields Project Website

The artist Mel Chin (USA) will introduce in a rare presentation and the first time in Germany, his collaborative methodology via different works. Chin's heterogeneous praxis include: his current work with MIT, a car-driving video game as a new narrative form, threaded through an urban space generated by specific nomadic carpet patterns; "Jerusalem OS", the concept for an open source computer operating system based on the city map of Jerusalem, that should go online and allow programmers to adapt it further; 'GALA Committee', a group developed under the title "In The Name of The Place" (1997) for the American TV series Melrose Place. The collaboration between different individuals and institutions within the project "In The Name of The Place", concentrated mainly on the development and placement of specific related artifacts (which included the main set of 'The Bar' which is now the 4th floor of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart as an extended loan from the Twodo collection). During the collaboration the series reached millions within the television audience. "In The Name of the Place" is an experiment - an ecology sketched out by Chin - between museums, mass media and artistic praxis, which was intended to shed light onto a yet unexplored creative field. The final auction of the works distributed the money to two charities supporting minorities and women over 35 who wished to continue university studies, echoing the classical public TV mandate of "information, education, entertainment".

For this introduction, Mel Chin will also introduce another project, "Revival Field", which began in 1990 as a trial series whose first version spanned over three years. That project helped manifest the first actual soil tests for 'hyperaccumulators' - plants that may prove to help detoxify soil contaminated from heavy metals. The aesthetic of the "Revival Field" developed out of Chin's continuing interest in alchemy and research on transformative processes as well as the mutability of natural materials. The polluted soil is to be set in a process that returns it to a cleaner state as a foundation for a rich ecosystem. The first "Revival Field" was created on a former landfill in Minnesota, a site which was polluted by cadmium, zinc and lead. Six different hyperaccumulators were planted as wall as different soil treatments developed. Chin's field trial was based on his dialog and work with the research of the American scientist Rufus Chaney. The sites were chosen from the National Priority Cleanup list from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Currently Chin has been in discussion considerng the possibilities of creating a "Revival Field" in Stuttgart.