CHASING COLOR: Art and the Hidden Narratives of Industrial Waste

Chasing Color: Art and the Hidden Narratives of Industrial Waste

February 5, 02018: A Long Now Boston Conversation with
Dan Borelli, Dr. Nikolay Anguelov and Dr. Emilia Javorsky 

See the after-event writeup for a discussion of this event.

Art, design, and other creative practices have the power to influence civic conversation – as Dan Borelli demonstrated in Ashland, MA at the Nyanza Superfund site.

Art, design, and other creative practices are not only an aesthetic muse. They have the power to influence civic conversation and can be especially transformative when the meme at hand is abstract, if not invisible.
Founded in 1917, The Nyanza Colorant Company in Ashland, MA was one of the first textile dying plants in the U.S. For 60 years, until its closing in 1978, the factory provided a livlihood to the town’s workers. It also dumped over 45 thousand tons of chemical sludge into the air, ground, and water. The trespass on the environment was so extreme that in 1982 the 35-acre Nyanza Chemical Waste Dump became one of the nation’s first Superfund cleanup sites.

After 40 years of dormancy there is still no formal timeline to finish remediation and restore the site to a ’clean’ condition. Area residents can trace many health problems, including cancer, back to Nyanza, and the long-term effects of the toxic runoff are still unknown.

Industrial waste is not endemic to Ashland, nor is it a thing of the past. Irresponsible and harmful manufacturing practices continue to this day on a global scale, and textile manufacturing in particular is the second largest polluter worldwide.

Dan Borelli’s artwork literally sheds light on the transformative power of art to engage a community, especially when a problem seems out of sight, out of mind. Borelli digs into the “folklore of color” in his hometown of Ashland to ask what is going on with the remediation today, how is public knowledge disseminated, and how does a community regenerate while acknowledging it’s past? To learn more visit the Ashland-Nyanza Project.

Nick Anguelov takes a macro look at Superfund intitiatives like Nyanza to understand these sites from a regulatory standpoint. He examines the effect America’s contempt for industrial regulation can have on the local living economies where our clothes are made today.

Dr. Emilia Javorsky brings an entreprenuer’s and physician’s view of the conversation througn the lens of existential risk. She will also open the conversation to audience engagement through Q&A.

Our Guest Presenters:

DAN BORELLI As part of his Master studies at the GSD, Dan started an art-based research inquiry into the Nyanza Superfund Site in Ashland Massachusetts, which is his hometown. Nyanza is one of the first 10 sites that launched the EPA’s Superfund program and Dan’s project makes public hidden narratives of cancer clusters, human loss, activism, and ultimately regeneration with the support of Harvard Innovation Learning Technology, ArtPlace America and NEA Our Town grants.

NICK ANGUELOV Assistant Professor, Department of Public Policy, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

Dr. Nikolay Anguelov is Assistant Professor in the department of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He has a Ph.D. in Policy Studies with a focus on Rural and Regional Economic Development from Clemson University. His research is interdisciplinary with a focus on international trade and diplomacy. His last two books are Economic Sanctions vs. Soft Power: Lessons from North Korea, Myanmar and the Middle East (Springer) and The Dirty Side of the Garment Industry: Fast Fashion and Its Negative Impact on Environment and Society (CRC Press).

Emilia Javorsky MD, MPH is focused on the invention, development and commercialization of new medical therapies using a problem-focused approach. Emilia received her undergraduate degree from Columbia University, her masters from Boston University, her medical degree from the University of Massachusetts, and completed her post-doctoral research at Massachusetts General Hospital. Currently she is involved in early-stage life science ventures. She also leads an Artificial Intelligence in Medicine initiative, and is launching programming on Imaginaries & the Future with the Future Society at Harvard Kennedy School. She was a Fulbright-Schuman Scholar to the European Union, is a TEDx speaker, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper community, and was honored as part of the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2017 in Healthcare.

LONG NOW BOSTON is organizationally independent but philosophically aligned with The Long Now Foundation in San Francisco.

All moneys raised from these conversations help Long Now Boston fund regional programs. If you can’t make it to this event please consider contributing to the cause by using the “Chip In” button on our MeetUp page.