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Setting Structures
A Presentation by Dan Borelli, Gavin Kroeber
Monday December 5, 7 p.m.
Location: Harvard Graduate School of Design/ 40 Kirkland Street/ Rm 1D/ Cambridge MA/ 02138


Gavin Kroeber, Untitled (for Dan Borelli), 2011

Initiated in 2010 by Dan Borelli, an artist and Ashland native, The Cloud of Unknowing:
Our Future is Our History was originally designed to acknowledge friends who had died
from cancer attributed to environmental contamination. Located in the geographic and
social center of Ashland from 1917 to 1978, the Nyanza colorant plant had by the time
of its closure earned the infamous distinction of being named by the EPA as one of the
first 10 sites in its Superfund program. Presented and discussed as a case study at AIC’s
Boston Connected and Consequential Conference in June (with the presentation title
Crossing the Rubicon: On Contamination, Tragedy and the Possibility of New Cultures),
the project has in its first year established a network of creative partners and supportive
local institutions, expanding in response to Borelli’s ambitions from a one-man project
into a kind of distributed institution. This presentation is a follow-up session for artists,
arts administrators and other creatives working in context to focus attention on the
necessity of setting structures – early, in-depth strategic planning – which is necessary
for a project of this scale to develop.

Since its inception, the project’s overall scope has grown and Borelli now seeks
to animate the living history of Ashland and Nyanza through an exhibition at the
Ashland Public Library within the EPA’s Field Repository, a series of public events
and artworks, an interactive web project and a publication. The project methodology
assembles practices drawn from community organizing, participatory planning, and arts

Join Dan Borelli, Gavin Koeber (the project’s founding Producer and currently Advisory
Board Member), and Jesse Shapins, project partner, for a stimulating discussion of
what a project demands in order to be done right, including questions of entry, project
definition, mobilization and documentation.