Why A Mexico City Artist Is Using A Giant Drill In Denver’s Commons Park

· Aug. 5, 2015, 1:03 am
Photo: Marcela Armas 'Implant' installation for Biennial of the Americas(Corey H. Jones/CPR News)
Mexico City artist Marcela Armas stands in front of core samples dug from the earth with a drilling rig in Denver's Commons Park on July 12, 2015.

How long does it take to drill 120 feet into the ground at a Denver park and extract a sample core that’s 2.5 inches in diameter?

About eight hours.

Mexico City artist Marcela Armas aims to answer even deeper questions than this one with her public art installation “Implant.” The project is part of the 2015 Biennial of the Americas.

“It’s about an exchange of sample of land between two cities -- Denver and Mexico City,” Armas said. “The project intends to explore how humans establish relationships with Earth.”

The tools and process are common in the mining industry and geological research, Armas says. The artist picked two specific locations: Denver’s Commons Park and Chapultepec Park in Mexico City.

“Commons Park is right by the confluence of Cherry Creek and the [South] Platte River, which is kind of where our legends tell us our city was founded because of the panning of gold there,” Biennial artistic director and curator Lauren Wright said.

“Geologists helped us to analyze what we could see there -- a huge amount about both the really distant and the more recent history of that site."

Armas is documenting the project. And later this month her team will transport each extracted core to the other city. The team will complete the process in Denver at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 22.

“Those will be implanted inside the earth like a symbolical sign about many levels of exchange -- cultural, political, economical,” Armas says.


Listen to Armas talk about "Implant" above. On Saturday, August 8, University of Colorado Denver professor Ken Schroeppel, who teaches in the school's Master of Urban and Regional Planning program, will lead a conversation at the "Implant" site in Commons Park at 1 p.m. He will explore topics like the boom and bust cycles of Denver’s history and the city's current infrastructure. 


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