“It is a thirty-one-acre battleground for the Bay Area’s competing progressive movements for social justice, environmental conservation, and politically engaged art. Street protest, lawsuits, regulatory jockeying, anarchist camp-ins, and art have all been deployed in the name of saving this oddball spit of land from and for its users of many species” – Susan Moffat, The Battle of the Bulb
What + Why // Home to the waste and scraps of San Francisco’s and Oakland’s citizens, the Albany Bulb is a landfill turned living museum, home, and center of play – that is, until recently. Susan Moffat describes in her “Battle of the Bulb” how the location for many years was the center of a thriving self-made and self-sustaining community – with a host of eccentric and eclectic citizens who each contribute in their individual ways – be it cooking for one another, sharing a library, telling stories in an “amphitheater”, or collaborating on an art piece. The bulb offered a sense of purpose, and it invited others – dog-walkers, kids, neighbors – to take interest in the art and carefully crafted ecosystem of the once-landfill. Unfortunately, the bulb is now subject to the state, who plans to convert it into conserved coastal land.
Model // In its complete lack of structure and intentional model, the bulb took on a form that promotes free play, and collective creation through ever-changing art made from scraps, rotating plays and performances, and an everyone-welcome – from dogs, to kids, to yuppies, to homeless – landscape.
Tension // As the state threatens to turn the bulb into conserved coastal land, they will also require that people do not build art out of scraps (litter), do not occupy the space that was once home (trespassing), and respect neatly made trails rather than blazing their own paths. This makes us think what the nature of a “park” really is, who it is for, and what it displaces. The bulb begs the question: is there possibility for us to shape our own public spaces rather than have it shaped and maintained for us?
What Sets it Apart //
- Dynamic art and play
- Self-sustaining community
- Land-fill / waste-land repurposed
- Collective creation and definition