Between 2009 and 2013, Hughen/Starkweather created a series of works about the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. For this project, the artists spent over a year researching the history of the bridge; they interviewed bridge architects and engineers, researched commute patterns, environmental data, topographical maps and diagrams, architecture and engineering drawings, and historic and current photographs. The artists were able to tour various stages of construction of the new span via boat, and tour the top of the 20-story scaffolding on the new tower while it was under construction.
The bridge was constructed in the 1930s as a railroad/car bridge to connect San Francisco to the East Bay. The East Span of the bridge was seriously damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and after 25 years of political wrangling was replaced with a new bridge in 2014. The damaged bridge will be gradually dismantled between 2014-16. This workhorse, which has been a part of the daily landscape of hundreds of thousands of commuters for decades, will soon exist only in collective memory. Hughen/Starkweather focused specifically on the damaged, now-defunct East Span of the Bay Bridge in their works in this series titled Requiem/Valediction.
Hughen/Starkweather is a collaborative comprised of the San Francisco-based artists Amanda Hughen and Jennifer Starkweather. They create collaborative artworks that explore the layers, complexities, and patterns that comprise a specific place using current and historic photographs, maps, and data to research a location. The resulting artworks map unique forms and patterns derived from built systems and natural movements of a place.