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Amy Balkin is an American artist. She studied at Stanford University and is now based in San Francisco. Her work 'combines cross-disciplinary research and social critique to generate ambitious ways of conceiving the public domain outside current legal and discursive systems.'

Invisible-5 is an audio commentary on land use along the highway corridor between San Francisco and Los Angeles.[1]

The project investigates the stories of people and communities fighting for environmental justice along the I-5, through oral histories, field recordings, found sound, recorded music, and archival audio documents. The project also traces natural, social, and economic histories along the route. This project was developed in collaboration with artists Kim Stringfellow and Tim Halbur, and the organizations Pond: Art, Activism, and Ideas, and Greenaction for Health & Environmental Justice. The project is available to listen online or download from

She has also proposed, as artwork, projects that challenge the scope and intent of current US or international laws relating to property ownership and pollution, and which are intended to expose the limitations and ideological biases of these laws. One such project Public Smog[2] involves the creation of clean air parks created by retiring emission offsets, paired with an attempt to add the Earth’s atmosphere to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Public Smog is a public park in the atmosphere that fluctuates in location and scale. Built through financial, legal, or political activities, Public Smog is subject to prevailing winds and the long-range transport of aerosols and gases. When built through the economic mechanism of emissions trading, the park opens above the region where offsets are purchased and withheld from use. Public Smog first opened briefly to the public during 2004 above California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District, and is now open over the European Union through 2008. [3]

Balkin's project This is the Public Domain is an ongoing attempt to create a permanent international commons from a parcel of land purchased by the artist in Southern California.

Her recent works include a Public Reading ‘Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers’ (2008), and a series of large-format rubbings of architectural signage of San Francisco-area entities implicated in war related activities and illegal domestic surveillance 'Sell Us Your Liberty, Or We’ll Subcontract Your Death' (2008).[4]

She has collaborated with Josh On on the Greenpeace project [5] and was the recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in 2007.


  1. ^ Sue Hubbard, The new Romantics, New Statesman, December 4, 2006.
  2. ^ Joseph del Pesco An interview with Amy Balkin, Dotes And Quotes, 2007.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Rising Tide Conference, Standford University, April 18th, 2009.
  5. ^ Web watch, The Guardian, June 24, 2004.

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