Revival Field by Mel Chin

Subject Paragraph: Mel Chin’s Revival Field

In ‘Revival Field’  the artist Mel Chin, in cooperation with agronomist Dr. R. L. Chaney, creates a small garden of hyper-accumulating plants on a chemically contaminated landfill. A video encapsulating the artwork displayed the garden, surrounded by an outer square, made of metal chain-link fence then a circular, metal chain-link fence with scattered wedges of greenery forming paths of barren land similarly to an ‘X’. A short animation elucidating the smelting of metals’ effect on the environment around them, via propagating white balls seeping into the soil,  which is destroying various sorts of life as portrayed by the sequential fading of branches, trees, smaller plants and animals. Hyperaccumulators are then planted, their roots extending and taking up the white balls up to their leaves. The plants are then harvested at maturity, burned in reclaiming furnaces yielding pure metal. The result attributing to the final scene of the animation which is a land filled with plant life swaying, rodent-like animal walking, worms wiggling in the soil and a bird in the tree.

Content Paragraph: Mel Chin’s Revival Field

  1. A possibility for the artwork content of the piece could be that the artist seeks to use plants as a tool not only to serve as commentary on a real-world problem, which is the detrimental effects that industry has to the environment, but rather an art form depicting the wonder in bringing something barren and unwanted back to life with life.
  2. Another possibility that artist could be communicating with us is that art provides a perspective to using aspects of what is declared science, as its media to create a new hopeful possibility.

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