"Plainsight is 20/20"
September 16–November 19, 2017
RAIR was invited to create a site-specific artwork for Monument Lab: a Public Art and History Project. Aiming to build civic dialogue and to stoke historical imagination as forces for social change, Monument Lab commissioned artists to develop site-specific, socially engaged artworks that functioned as monuments to the current city of Philadelphia. Mural Arts and the Monument Lab Curatorial Team led by Paul Farber and Ken Lum installed these temporary prototype monuments by 20 artists across 10 sites in Philadelphia’s iconic public squares and neighborhood parks.
For Monument Lab, RAIR envisioned a monument to the tension between Philadelphia's simultaneous and conflicting identities as a green, sustainable city, and as a grounds for rapid commercial and residential redevelopment. The site-specific sculpture Plainsight is 20/20 features an excavator holding a large uprooted tree behind an 8-foot-tall construction fence in Penn Treaty Park, and serves as a portrait of the tension between the natural landscape and urban progress. This monumentalized excavator is shown to be responsible for destruction as well as development and, wrapped in metallic vinyl, both interrupts and reflects its environment.