Monez created to-scale replicas of the ersatz neighborhood built on top of Boeing Plant 2 during WWII as a tribute to the river’s wartime history and the act of revealing, and concealing, history.
Plant 2015 is inspired by the artificial landscape built on Boeing Plant 2’s roof during WWII, a scale model of suburban America created to conceal the factory from enemy planes. My project draws on this history to focus attention on what has been and what currently is concealed along the Duwamish River. As Seattle’s only river, the heavily industrialized Duwamish holds layers of history and meaning, people and culture, contamination and habitat. The Boeing factory was recently demolished as part of the Duwamish Superfund cleanup process, and the artificial suburb was decommissioned after the war.
The lenses we use to understand the Duwamish River have continued to change throughout history and depend on our point of view. The Coast Salish traveled the Duwamish and other parts of our region via water, and early 20th century American engineers altered its course via straightening, seeing a vision of a navigable waterway not for canoes but instead for large ships. During WWII, when the Plant 2 camouflaged roof was created, people feared the threat of attack but also supported the war effort by planting Victory gardens, and women began to take over the workforce. Today, we view the world via Google Earth aerials and have access to massive amounts of information, yet contamination is concealed and people still fish from the polluted river. The artificial landscape of Plant 2015 layers a past history on top of the present landscape to remind us how quickly things can change.
Jordan Monez, 2015
Funded by 4Culture. Thanks to our Site Sponsor, the Boeing Company.