Cincinnati Project


Ed Andrews
Cincinnati Project
wood, mirror
12’ x 100’ x 25’
Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati Project was curated by Cincinnati’s Institute of Contemporary Art for the adjacent Federal Reserve Bank Plaza. Three artists were asked to each build a site-specific project that would be exhibited for one season. My project was installed for the summer of 1986.

The Federal Reserve Bank Plaza is a very formal and highly manicured urban park. The trees, plants, and water are surrounded by a tall iron fence and exist in stark contrast to a busy downtown intersection. I found myself drawn to the squares of transplanted trees, plants, and water inside the plaza and outward to the people, buses, and cars beyond the fence. My project focused on both of these compelling subjects.

The Cincinnati Project consisted of three wooden structures that were outfitted with a variety of apertures and mirrored openings. These openings were designed to focus the viewer’s attention onto isolated segments of the existing site. Each structure was bisected by a central wall that either focused the viewer’s attention inward to the plaza or outward toward the urban street.

Half of the central structure cantilevered over an existing pool. The interior wall was dedicated to capturing sunlight reflected from the water. The other half of the structure faced the street through a wall of large kaleidoscopes. Viewers could sit on a bench and watch as the kaleidoscopes fractured passing people and traffic.

The smaller structures on either flank were nestled around large granite planters. The planters were used, inside the structures, as places to sit and as platforms to gain a higher vantage point. Both of the smaller structures used mirror configurations to focus on the trees and plants within the planters. Another wall of mirrors, called the Wedge-Wall, allowed the viewer to see people and traffic three times from a single point of perspective.

My favorite part of the installation was located behind the corner bus stop. The Listening Wall was made of plywood that was perforated with a grid of large PVC tubes. People sat in this darkened room and listened to the conversations of commuters waiting for the next bus.

The three structures functioned like large cameras with special lenses. The people who entered them became the film. Perception of the site was the sole function of the Cincinnati Project.