The Alaskan Way Viaduct Observation and Demolition Unit is a collaborative, temporary art installation developed by Seattle artist Dane Youngren in response to the ways downtown Seattle is changing as a result of the viaduct replacement, tunnel boring and seawall projects. The project will be take place July 1 through August 10 at Pier 62/63 on the Central Waterfront, in view of Alaskan Way and the viaduct. The Observation Unit is designed to blend into the cityscape as a mock-construction site, featuring construction fencing and custom-phrased construction signage. These signs offer humorous taglines, including “we promise not to bore you” and “exclusive tunnel vision goggles sold here.” An opening ceremony will be held 5 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, July 2. The work will be closed on July 4 and Aug. 1.
Participate: The project rests on the concept of an observation outpost with a studio art twist. In the midst of the construction, it provides a space where ceramic art can be created and explored in a collaborative studio setting. The public is invited to learn the basics of ceramics from Youngren and help create part of the project, 12 to 6 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, for the duration of the project. Participation is free and on a first-come, first-serve, drop-in basis.
Youngren is coordinating two art projects onsite:
The Waterfront Development Project is a large-scale, unfired clay, site-specific installation designed to replicate or re-imagine the downtown landscape. Youngren will teach participants the basics of working in ceramics in order to create components of the overall artwork. Each work can take the form of buildings, vegetation or even a replica viaduct or tunnel beneath the miniature cityscape.
The Lincoln Log Project is also a collaborative installation in which Youngren will guide participants through techniques of working in ceramics. Plaster molds will be used to facilitate the production of Lincoln Log casts in clay, and these casts will be fired and turned into a large-scale installation. The goal is to produce thousands of log casts in clay in preparation for a 2014 installation in Seattle.
Track the progress of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Observation and Demolition Unit here.
This temporary artwork was commissioned with Seattle Department of Transportation 1% for Art funds and administered by the Office of Art and Culture in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation.
IMAGE: Photo courtesy of the artist.