Burn It All Down
Located at the heart of the Portland State University Campus are multiple green spaces that act primarily as community gathering respites away from the urban environment. The PSU Oak Savanna is currently the least maintained and most overlooked green space in the area while secretly holding the richest and most impactful history. It is important to readdress the erasing of alive histories by bringing awareness of this space to community members.
This Oak Savanna concept design would re-imagine the space through the addition of a large-scale interpretive historical marker, a native collaboration for an artistic reworking of the current walkway, and a gathering space to honor controlled fire. This project also works to create a visual direction that includes other deliverables for the space including relevant signage, art, patterns, merch, etc. The purpose of this project as a whole is to gain attention and inform the community of why this space exists evidently refocusing the attention on historical stories that were meant to be told and to represent the diverse identities of local native people.
Installation Proposal Zine
Since the purpose of this installation is to uplift native voices that have been historically erased, all work would ideally be commissioned and installed by native people themselves. The art installation piece, Path to the Past, would ask artists to create tile designs with the majority colors being red, orange, and yellow that represent their identity as a native person. The tiles would get placed along the current path in the space to create a diverse collaborative image of the local native community. A secondary plaque at the far end of the savanna would include artistic credits and a brief rationale of the project. A Contemporary Controlled Fire aims to visualize the controlled fires that native people used to take care of traditional oak savannas in a way that is safe for the current space. It also acts as signage and wayfinding as there is currently no installation that describes that space as the PSU Oak Savanna. The full-size version would be completely functional and act as warmth for the houseless communities in the area.
Example Artists Work
A Path To The Past
The tile art and large historical marker intend to both bring attention and energy to the space. This installation would emphasize the native history that the Oak Savanna is meant to honor and add additional native representation through their art. The chosen color theme is meant to represent fire and be eye-catching to passersby. Implementing a more durable pathway material such as tile will create a more accessible way through the space and bring more guests to the signage. By the addition of a community gathering space in the form of a fire pit, the intention is to make the space more inviting and practical overall for the community.