The Sandhog Project, 2009
Archival pigment print, from 120 negative film, Dimensions Variable
Sandhogs are miners who are 800 feet below Manhattan tunneling bedrock to create the 60 mile long City Water Tunnel #3, which will provide fresh water and prevent a catastrophic water shortage in the city. The future of the Metropolis depends on the efforts of these unseen miners. Since construction began in 1970, one Sandhog has lost his life in a mining-related accident for approximately each mile tunneled. Few people though know about this mammoth excavation-or the story of the Sandhogs themselves.
This simultaneity of their underground reality and my aboveground life inspired me to explore and embrace the city for what it is-a living, interrelated, sculptural body. Over the past five years I have photographed the Sandhogs, illuminating the vibrant subculture and complex infrastructure in a rich organic light. The Sandhog Project is a multi-faceted work of photo, video, web and installation art to spark the public's consciousness of this essential, yet largely unknown perilous subterranean world. I endeavor to ask the public to reflect on their daily experiences - what is our role in and relationship to the city?
In 2006, the work was exhibited as a large-scale photo and video installation at Grand Central Terminal ( http://www.ginalevay.com/b/grandcentral.html ) and in Fall 2009, the first book of the work, SANDHOGS (powerHouse Books), was published; http://www.powerhousebooks.com/book/1115