Atlas of the Albany Bulb

at the Refuge in Refuse: Homesteading Art & Culture Exhibit

LOCATION: SOMArts Gallery, 934 Brannan Street, San Francisco
EXHIBIT DATES: February 12, 2015-March 14, 2015
SPECIAL EVENT: February 21, 2 p.m. at the Gallery - Secrets of the Albany Bulb tour and mapmaking for Albany Residents


For more than two decades, artists, dog walkers, urban explorers, nature lovers and homeless people have shared the Albany Bulb, a decommissioned landfill peninsula located on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. Their use of the space, which is now slated to become part of the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park, reveals the shifting boundaries of public and private urban space.

The group exhibition Refuge in Refuse: Homesteading Art & Culture Project includes slideshows, video, photography, painting, sculpture, printed and interactive maps and 3D scans reflecting methods from urban planning, landscape architecture, archaeology, and art. It is curated by Robin Lasser, Danielle Siembieda and Barbara Boissevain.

Global Urban Humanities Initiative Project Director Susan Moffat organized one part of the exhibit, which includes excerpts from the Atlas of the Albany Bulb, an oral history and mapping project exploring the natural and cultural landscape of the site.

Working with students from the UC Berkeley departments of Anthropology/Archaeology, Architecture, City and Regional Planning, Geography, Landscape Architecture, Molecular Environmental Biology, and the Information School, Moffat engaged with residents of the Bulb to create collaborative narratives and maps.

The Atlas of the Albany Bulb is an ongoing project that aims to assemble a diverse, crowdsourced multimedia quilt of stories and images about a dense landscape of nature, culture, and memory. The project, including opportunities for participation by the wider community, can be followed at Following the exhibit, the maps and stories will be presented online.

Also on display will be work by UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design lecturer Randi Johnsen and her landscape architecture students. They studied the Bulb and created a range of design proposals that address both the natural and human elements of the site.

The Atlas of the Albany Bulb is made possible with support from Cal Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit

The Atlas is part of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative, a joint venture of the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design and the Arts & Humanities Division of the College of Letters and Science. The Initiative aims to investigate cities and urban life by bringing together the methods of the design disciplines with those of the arts and humanities.