This series of small collages, representing oysters, is composed of found material collected from city streets: food wrappers, receipts, junk mail, parking tickets, political fliers, handwritten notes, plastic, and cardboard. Layers and textures build up gradually, over time, like real oyster shells.
Oysters used to be so numerous in the Hudson River that all the water was filtered and cleaned by these bivalves in a matter of days. Additionally, oysters are a keystone species, providing nourishment and creating habitat for smaller marine creatures in the nooks and crannies between their shells. They were a major food source for the Lenape indigenous people, as well as settlers, until overharvesting and human-caused pollution reduced their population dramatically and rendered them unsafe for consumption.
Now, the Billion Oyster Project is spearheading an effort to reintroduce oysters to New York Harbor in reefs, for the above-mentioned ecosystem services as well as to protect the city's coastline against climate change induced storm surges. Efforts are also underway in the New Jersey Meadowlands by NY/NJ Baykeeper.