THE PRECIPICE ALLIANCE DEBUTS WITH MARY ELLEN CARROLL’S “INDESTRUCTIBLE LANGUAGE” INSTALLATION First Non-For Profit Corporation Utilizing Public Art to Communicate Global Warming Message

October 16, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Entertainment News
This large-scale project will consist of 8-foot high illuminated characters, spelling out the phrase: IT IS GREEN THINKS NATURE EVEN IN THE DARK. The nearly 900-foot-long piece will be installed in the window bays of all five former American Can factory buildings (CANCO lofts) in Jersey City, New Jersey on November 1st, 2006 and will be exhibited for six months, through April 2007. The work will be illuminated at night, and will be visible to tens of thousands of commuters daily traveling on the Pulaski Skyway and the New Jersey Turnpike. It will also be visible by air to passengers flying into Newark Airport, reaching millions of viewers. An event will take place on November 13th to celebrate the launch of this organization and its first project.

Describing the reasons behind his decision to create The Precipice Alliance, co-founder Joel Sternfeld explains "Like everybody, I'd been following the predictions about global warming out of the corner of my eye for the last 20 years. But after I went to the UN conference on climate change in Montreal in December 2005, I knew I had to do something. I had no idea there was so little time left to prevent irreversible catastrophic consequences." Co-founder Donna Wingate adds, “Timing is very critical for this issue. We are at a stage where a brief opportunity exists to mitigate the substantial, potentially irreversible effects of global warming. Public awareness is absolutely essential in creating solutions.”

Mary Ellen Carroll’s artwork, known as “indestructible language”, explores the random nature of language, as a continuous loop that one can enter at various points. Carroll’s choice of phrase serves as a reiterative device, highlighting the environmental issues that are the Precipice Alliance’s main focus. “IT IS” immediately states that the issue at hand is one of extreme relevance; in fact the hazards of greenhouse gas emissions are proven scientific fact. “GREEN” carries with it multiple interpretations: ominous connotations pertaining to money and greenhouse gas emissions, and simultaneously the color of nature and earth. “THINKS” reinforces the human capability to engage in cognitive thought, while “NATURE” echoes the use of “GREEN” earlier. “EVEN” denotes that this as a non-partisan issue, while “IN THE DARK” is both literal and metaphorical: the lead-glass tubing will only be lit and visible in the dark. It also confronts the viewer, asking them to engage with this crucial issue.

For indestructible language, Mary Ellen Carroll worked with Chester Jenkins at Village Type and Design and Matt Dilling at LiteBrite Neon to create a new type specifically for the artwork. Village creates lettering, type, and design for cultural and commercial clients, including 2x4, Pentagram, the London Design Festival, and the National Football League. Matt Dilling at LiteBrite Neon is the manufacturer of the sign.

In accordance with the program mission, educating the public about practical steps to conserve energy and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, the artwork will be carbon neutral, using low-wattage, energy-efficient transformers and lead-free glass tubing. Solar panels installed at the site, combined with “greentags” from Bonneville Environmental Foundation will offset the energy consumed. Limited silk-screen editions created by the artist specifically for this project will also be available.

Artist Joel Sternfeld and Executive Director Donna Wingate have founded The Precipice Alliance, a sponsored organization of the New York Foundation for the Arts, and a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, with the goal of increasing awareness of the global effects of climate change. With this in mind, the Alliance plans to fund high profile, innovative public artworks that specifically address this urgent matter while simultaneously functioning as an educational and informational forum. By executing large-scale contemporary artworks in public venues, and aligning each artwork with a specific environmental initiative and related public response, the Alliance believes that artists can give forum and focus to intangible concepts and deliver powerful messages about the critical challenge of combating global warming. Their next project will involve a collaboration with artist Alexis Rockman, who will produce four extreme weather artworks to be displayed in four states (Colorado, Mississippi, Texas, and Kansas), with an accompanying billboard campaign. Further information is available on The website, as well as the organization’s logo and identity were created by design studio 2x4.

The conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll lives and works in New York City, and her projects have always been concerned with notions of representation and identification, which reveal a dedication to political and social critique. She is the recipient of many honors and awards, including a Pollack/Krasner Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Fellowship, and her work has been exhibited at many national and international galleries and institutions, including the Whitney Museum, ICA London, and MOMUK Vienna.

CANCO lofts is the largest and most innovative rehabilitation of an industrial facility in the New York metropolitan area, built from the 1 million square foot factory that once housed the American Can Company in Jersey City. Industrial by heritage and contemporary in design, this unique new condominium community offers dramatic, light-filled spaces and luxury loft living minutes from Manhattan.

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