Marty Pottenger • Fresh Kills Reclamation Project

Fresh Kills Reclamation Project

Fresh Kills Reclamation Project

Buried Treasure: A Fresh Kills Reclamation Project 2001. An entirely new sort of community arts performance project with live interviews in front of an audience, Buried Treasure began in response to the agreement reached by the Mayor, the Governor and the Borough President to close the landfill on Staten Island.

One of the only two manmade structures visible from outer space -- Fresh Kills Landfill offers a sobering snapshot on garbage and human responsibility. The scale alone serves as a metaphor as recyclable as the plastic/paper/glass trash we New Yorkers now sort through before taking the garbage out. With Olivia George's call Pottenger started a two year process of interviews, visits, research and meetings, culminating in a public performance of interviews with individuals whose stories represent the buried treasure in Fresh Kills Landfill.

The attack on the World Trade Center has catapulted Fresh Kills into a new era where her dedicated workers daily face the grim and lengthy task of sorting through the debris to help the living understand, respond and heal. To them we owe our deepest thanks. Buried Treasure will now include the post-WTC stories of these workers, politicians, residents and citizens mixed in with the experiences that best reflect the heart of this immense public works project. There's no end to critically important questions around the issues surrounding trash - the politics, economics and sociology of garbage including toxic waste , labor concerns, environmental racism -- but in the end, it was people's stories that made sense of it all.

"Buried Treasure" reclaims the unseen but deeply experienced history of human beings working in and around the landfill throughout it's 52 years of existence. As Marty interviews individuals before a live audience, Carla Peterson will document in these stories in video.

Following the performance interviews, the video, as edited by Carla Peterson, will be available for viewing in the Newhouse Gallery. Participants include Brendan Sexton, former Commissioner of Sanitation during the infamous garbage scow's journey around the world, Benjamin Miller, author of a best-selling 200 year history of NYC's garbage , Dave Hendrickson who has spent the last 10 years supervising the recovery of lost personal items and Nicolas Dmetrizin from Staten Island's Borough President Guy Molinari's office.