Ask most artists and sculptors what they work in and they might say “water colors” or “clay.” Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi are probably among the very few whose medium is storm-snapped umbrellas.
So it is for their installation “Bushkill Overflow” which hangs above the Arts Plaza on North 3rd Street as the Bushkill Creek courses underfoot. The 60-foot string of steel umbrella frames overhead are arranged to mimic the form of the water below.
Like nearby canals that would cross over rivers through metal and concrete aqueducts, Bushkill Overflow refashions the onetime transport of raw materials and manufactured goods along the water into a hovering accretion of spent metal artifacts.
Schachter and Levi worked with teens from the Boys and Girls Club of Easton to construct the piece, which hangs over the plaza from open-air truss works. “We picked a height that’s just high enough that you won’t poke your eye out,” Schachter says.
Some of the teens contributed old umbrellas for the installation but Schachter and Levi had no trouble finding others. “In every rain storm literally every garbage can in my neighborhood has a ton of them,” she says.
Umbrella frames are made of steel and could be recycled but most people don’t bother. Bushkill Overflow is both a tribute to the region’s industrial heritage and a reminder of what our “disposable” culture leaves for the landfill.
Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi are co-founders of SLO Architecture started in Madrid in 2005 and based in New York City since 2007. The couple are recipients of the 2008-2009 Van Alen Institute New York Prize, which led them to create the Bronx River Crossing. With the help of high school and college students, they built a raft that was the embodiment of the ecology and human history of the Lower Bronx River Watershed. On June 11, 2009, they floated the raft – kept afloat by scores of empty plastic soda bottles — down the Bronx River escorted by a flotilla of canoes. You can see a photo at http://www.sloarchitecture.com
Schachter earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in New York City and a master’s in architecture from Princeton University. Levi received a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and a master’s in architecture from Yale University.
Amanda Schachter would like to credit the following people with helping to install Bushkill Overflow. Project Team: Amanda Schachter & Alexander Levi (SLO Architecture)
with Robert Wrazen and youth from the Boys & Girls Club of Easton: Ishmael Rogers, Ciara Alford, Janajah Lawson, Tanajah Lawson. Special Thanks to Dean Young, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club, Easton. Thanks also to Frankie West, Julia Levi, and Olalla Levi. Video and Photography: Chris Kannen.
Find Bushkill Overflow at map location 9