Site Forensics

Visual Studies

Spring 2013

Julie Bargmann, instructor

Investigating landscapes requires digging into multiple layers of site histories. Strata and flows of stuff can be unearthed to become design fodder. This workshop focused on the messy assemblages of post‐industrial sites, decoding the evolution of these complex landscapes. The goal was to develop X‐ray vision and to explore methods to record the seen and unseen evidence of production. Methods of documentation aimed to record the impact on natural resources, to diagram the wiring of infrastructure and to reveal a narrative of social constructs.

The exploration included some basics about soils (contaminated), water (polluted), plants (denuded) and other natural systems with a focus on how they have been manipulated for industrial processes. The mechanics of various industries were visualized to trace inputs and outputs and to track infrastructure that delivers necessary ingredients and manufactured goods. Students were asked to research and experiment with the representation of industrially layered landscapes. The workshop delved into finding site evidence in the form of historic maps, how‐it’s‐made info, company records and propaganda, newspapers, census reports and working traces found in the field.