Redding Ca

New Friends And A New Roomate (Post #2)

Getting to the bottom of things.

Sam Breen – Saturday, October 2, 2010

Twenty five hours of work and the ceiling/walls have been cleared of leftover fiberglass insulation. The job was pretty mindless but I don’t mind that kind of work, especially after a long day of class. The only trouble was protecting myself from the fiberglass: coveralls, respirator, goggles, gloves etc. It’s not too pleasant when it’s hot outside, so I ended up doing a lot of work at night.

Once I removed all the insulation, I used a shop vac to clean out the inside.  Finally got rid of a lot of the rat droppings, dust etc. (It smells a lot better in there all of a sudden!)


After some trial and error with different portable saws, I found that the circular saw worked best to cut out the plywood while avoiding the steel frame beneath it. I cut small pieces at a time and popped them out with two crowbars.

In the process, I found a Ninja Turtles pencil case…

and some old newspaper clippings stuck to the linoleum.
1985 newspaper clipping from Redding, CA.

The clippings were from Redding, in Northern California.  Such an odd coincidence.  I recently bought a second vintage trailer, a tiny 1960 Corsa camper trailer, now parked next to the Spartan, which I use as my hang out.

1960 Corsa: My home away from home away from home...

It came from a town near Redding: Big Bend, CA, located near Mt. Shasta.The previous owners were a couple I now consider to be my friends – Bern Haggard and Eviane Cotton.

Homesteaders Bern and Eviane

In addition to their responsibilities on their 80-acre homestead, they are restoring the town’s old campground complete with old hot springs!

The campground at Big Bend (not yet open) will feature soaking pools built into a cliff that overlooks the Pit River.

The Pit River as seen from the soaking pool.

Eventually, Bern and Eviane also with others, also hope to transform the town’s trailer park into an eco village (current residents will stay if they wish)

Back to my own trailer project…

The shower/bathroom unit needs to come out. It’s unsalvageable, unfortunately. We debated whether to clean it up and re-use but the thing is gross and falling apart.

Yes, we actually considered trying to save the metal bathroom unit.

The bathroom unit is all one piece. It will not fit out through the doorway so it will have to be sawed out.. a job for later.  I did manage to rip out the linoleum flooring inside the bathroom, just to see what was underneath. Bad news is the aluminum floor under the linoleum is in bad shape. It’s going to have to go, too.

One of the previous owners caped off the shower head and installed new flooring.  (It seems they only used the toilet and sink.)

As I rip away the flooring throughout the trailer I’ve found more nasty insulation, rat droppings and all sorts of presents left behind by pack rats.

Speaking of which, I have a new roommate in the trailer. When I lifted up a piece of floorboard, a little mouse scurried away. I don’t mind the company.

Oh, and today, we had our first rain! No apparent leaks, except of course from the missing windows and skylight, but I didn’t look too closely. I’m not ready to deal with that yet. Small steps.

I want to get the old floor out as soon as possible. I can’t wait to get rid of all the insulation. I won’t feel it’s a clean slate until that happens…

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Remediate/Re-vision exhibition at Wave Hill

I recently attended the opening for Remediate/Re-vision: Public Artists Engaging the Environmentat Wave Hill in the Bronx. The exhibition showcases artists’ projects that raise awareness about issues concerning watershed fragility, industrial and natural history, personal responsibility, and ecological balance. Artists in the exhibition include Lillian Ball, Jackie Brookner, Mags Harries and Lajos Heder, Natalie Jeremijenko, Patricia Johanson, Lorna Jordan, Matthew Mazzotta, Eve Mosher, Buster Simpson, Susan Leibovitz Steinman, Suzanne Lacy, and Yutaka Kobayashi, George Trakas and Mierle Laderman Ukeles.

The exhibition design provides each artist or artist team with a large wall presentation including text, photographic images, documentation and in some cases videos. It’s graphically crisp and clear to look at if somewhat bookish. Curator Jennifer McGregor explained to me that the entire exhibition will be very easy to travel as everything is designed on computer files that can be sent without shipping anything. Nice to see a “green” show with a green concept for travel! This exhibition focuses on current or recently completed projects with a few exceptions.

ecoartspace provided two video interviews for this exhibition. Patricia Johanson was interviewed by Amy Lipton and Jackie Brookner was interviewed by Patricia Watts. For viewing the interviews please go to the ecoartspace youtube page HERE.

Several of the artists were there for the opening and gave brief talks about their work. First to speak was Lillian Ball about her completed project WaterWash which is made of recycled glass, permeable pavement and vegetation to replace asphalt to act as storm water mitigation in Southhold Long Island, NY. She also presented an architectural model as a proposal for a new version of WaterWash for the Bronx River.

Buster Simpson then spoke about his work titled The Monolith in Redding, CA. This work was commissioned by Turtle Bay Exploration Park and created from the ruins of a former gravel plant and the building of the Shasta Dam. Simpson has proposed a water recirculation system and large solar panel for the rooftop of the structure.

George Trakas spoke about his Newton Creek Nature Walk in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He created public access to a long-inaccessible shoreline surrounding the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Trakas’ Nature Walk provides an interpretive frame on its surroundings. From staged granite steps to the water’s edge, visitors can sit on a series of getdowns perforating the bulkhead along the Whale Creek tributary.

Mags Harries and Lajos Héder, presented Terra Fugit. This project provided an opportunity for the artists to fully design a section of a new regional park in a fast growing, completely new community in Miramar, South Florida. The design explores the nature of the land, time, and human occupation and development on a 200-acre site located near the Everglades. This area was still open wetlands in the late 90’s and the waterway, excavated to obtain fill material for raising the grade of the surrounding site, has become the central focus of the park.

Lorna Jordan, spoke about her project Terraced Cascade in Scottsdale, Arizona. The work consists of a series of stepped, rib-like terraces and vertebrae-like cascades. Water flows down the cascade in a metaphorical gesture that suggests water rolling down a human spine—a miniature watershed allows storm water to supplement the irrigation system. Planted terraces provide a demonstration of desert-conscious landscaping and the sculptural garden is an abstraction of the human body in the desert landscape. The artwork’s objective of creatively using storm water is sensitive to the need for harvesting, using and reusing water in an otherwise dry region.

Jackie Brookner presented her recent project, Veden Taika, The Magic of Water. The work consists of three floating islands in the Halikonlahti Bird Pools in Salo, Finland. The largest island provides nesting sites for birds and the two smaller islands contain plants for phytoremediation, These islands are vegetated with plants specially chosen to remove pollutants from the water and sediments. During the warm months a cloud of mist, powered by wind, will rise up over the islands several times a day. Wind powered aerators beneath the islands oxygenate the water and stimulate microbial processes on the plant roots.

Eve Mosher, then spoke about her current project, Seeding the City, in NYC which utilizes social networking to site urban interventions in the form of green roof modules. It capitalizes on community building to introduce urban environmental issues and remediation tools. The modules and their accompanying flags and street level signage will track the growth of the network throughout the neighborhood. Online resources will include mapping of the project, tools for tracking local urban heat island effect and resources to recreate the project worldwide. ecoartspace participated in Seeding the City last fall as part of the exhibition Down to Earth at 53 Mercer St, NYC, we had four of the original planted roof modules on view.

Last, but far from least, Mierle Laderman Ukeles spoke eloquently about her ongoing decades of work with the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island, NY. As the official artist in residence of the NYC Dept. of Sanitation, Mierle has been involved from the beginning in the plan to transform Fresh Kills Landfill into a public park. The park will eventually have four sections, and will be twice the size of Central Park. Mierle suggested that it might take another 20 – 30 years before the park is completed. (In the same breath she mentioned that she is now 70 yrs old). The average time period for all of the works represented in Remediate/Revision from inception to completion was 10 years. Mierle is an inspiration in her dedication and perseverance as are all of the artists in this exhibition that take on large-scale public remediation projects as art.

Meanwhile, Mierle has a proposal soon to be implemented for one million people to participate in an artwork for Fresh Kills Park titled PUBLIC OFFERINGS MADE BY ALL REDEEMED BY ALL, where “Donor Citizens” will release material offerings via cultural transfer stations. Stay tuned for more information on that as well as on upcoming events at Wave Hill associated with this exhibition.

Artists Talks will take place on Saturday October 9th with Natalie Jeremijenko and Patricia Johanson and on Sunday October 10th with Jackie Brookner, Eve Mosher and Susan Leibovitz Steinman at Wave Hill.

Remediate/Re-Vision is up at Wave Hill through November 28, 2010.

Images top to bottom: Veden Taika, The Magic of Water by Jackie Brookner; Mags Harries and Lajos Heder speaking about Terra Fugit; Waterwash by Lillian Ball; Terraced Cascade by Lorna Jordan, Mist rising over Veden Taika, The Magic of Water by Jackie Brookner, Seeding the City by Eve Mosher, Aerial view of 2200 acre boundary of Fresh Kills Landfill

Go to EcoArtSpace