Progress City explores the way sculpture can visually represent history. It specifically focuses on the time period during which America transitioned from an industrial to a service-based economy (1950s - 1970s). The purpose was to examine the effects this transition had on cities throughout the Southeast. The exhibition showcased a series of twelve buildings, each reflecting an industry or trade that was once considered vital to the growth of southern communities.
The exhibition was displayed at Summerville Art & Custom Framing and officially opened to the public on December 8, 2016.
The design of Progress City was inspired by a Disney project of the same name. The design of Walt Disney’s experimental city guided the layout of the exhibition such that the buildings were separated into two distinct regions: the inner region or “urban center” and the outer region or “rural/ agricultural center.” By incorporating twelve buildings, a reference was made to the number of hours present on a clock face and reinforced the notion of progress and time occurring hand-in-hand.
DESIGN / CONSTRUCTION / DISPLAY
Before construction began, I traveled across Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina capturing photographs of abandoned structures. These photographs were then edited to produce a simple, outlined image. This line image was exposed onto a silk screen and screenprinted onto a stained panel of 1/4” oak wood. The metal used for the “roofs” was salvaged roofing tin sourced from Jacksonville, Florida.
A series of found objects that had a correlation to each structure was also placed on display. They were arranged in a horizontal box, evoking the museum-like display of a curiosity cabinet.
A motorized streetcar was featured at the center of Progress City. It provided a link between the “urban” and “rural” centers.
A custom soundtrack was also created for the exhibition to immerse the viewer through auditory means. The track was comprised of abstract sounds one might hear if they took an actual walking tour through the city. For example, one might hear the clinking of Coke bottles moving down the assembly line or the distant hum of a fire siren. Click here to listen.