Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Let the research begin..

Now that the juices are flowing..I like to always begin my initial research by some basic photo searching. I found lots of images of CSN and wanted to post a few to share. I went to the Nantional Library today in Rio and am sad to say it is closed for the written research I wanted to begin today didn't happen. I have to be more creative..

for now some pictures..

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Volta Redonda

I had originally written a proposal close to two years ago about investigating a steel mill in Latin America called CSN. It is located in a city called Volta Redonda which is located in Rio de Janeiro state, about 2 hours from the city of Rio. It is the next link to the 4500 Fait Ave project. With some time, this idea has been building and now this past week I was given some good contacts to visit the steel mill. Hopefully I will be able to begin some good research in the next few weeks. Here are a few pictures from my initial visit to the city...

Original proposal..

My most recent work involves researching and analyzing the industrial history of Baltimore. In my work I practice seeing as a way of rediscovering my environment. I have been investigating the history and space within an abandoned building in the city. This investigation has led me to a piece called 4500 Fait Ave. In this piece, through discovering a huge source of newsprint, I am addressing the issue of recycling and waste as well as the history of the material. Through my interaction with this newsprint I have become deeply involved in understanding the history of this empty space that is now only occupied by wasted materials. I have begun to gather and transport some of these discarded materials for use in installations. In addition to this exploration of the throw away material, I also intend to continue working on how the space could lead to a community based project. It is my intention to involve the community in discussing the history of this space and the importance of preserving spaces with a rich history. I've created a website called 4500 Fait Ave ( and have invited members of the community to discuss issues such as these. My involvement with this building has strengthened my knowledge of the history of the community the building resides in as well as the industrial history in Baltimore specifically in steel production.

Steel came to Baltimore in the 1880s, when Pennsylvania-based Bethlehem Steel created an outpost on the tidewaters of Sparrows Point in Baltimore County. With the rise of industry came the development of new jobs, businesses and the gentrification of land forming new communities. Once the industry began to decline there was a drastic shift in the use of land. Baltimore lost over 100,000 manufacturing jobs between 1950 and 1995. The collapse of industry led to a number of changes in the demographic makeup of the city and the surrounding region, contributing to a crisis in urban poverty that lingers today. As quick as communities formed around industrial businesses they shifted along with the trends and development of production over seas.
This production has prospered in places over seas such as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Marburg Scholarship would fund my travels to Rio to learn about the global shifts of steel production and the history relative to the city of Rio and Sao Paulo. Volta Redona hosts the first steel mill in South America. The city is sometimes known as Cidade do Aco which in Portuguese means steel city. The steel mill is called Companhia SiderĂ­gica Nacional. It opened in 1941 and is still one of the world's most efficient steel production facilities. Each year they produce about 6 million tons of raw steel and more than 5 million tons of laminates. I am interested in making connections between Baltimore's steel production and this city as well as the boom of manufacturing in Sao Paulo.

Through this trip I hope to gather research and photographs that capture the production process. I am drawn to the concept of assembly lines and ways in which factories operate by producing masses of a product through planned processes. My intent is to create large-scale metal pieces in response to this trip and information I have gathered that reflect the connections between Brazil and Baltimore.

Old Pictures from the Space

I've been meaning to post these pictures. These are a few more shots from the space that I like a lot. I will be moving back to Baltimore in June and am pretty eager to see what new development has take place on the site.