Monument to a Missing Island
Tim Clifford’s Monument to a Missing Island commemorates the destruction of the East River island known as Flood Rock, which took place on October 10, 1885. Flood Rock was the largest impediment to shipping in the East River, slowing commercial traffic to and from Long Island Sound. The explosion that eliminated Flood Rock, overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers, was the largest man-made explosion in human history prior to the atom bomb.
Clifford’s Monument to a Missing Island is sited along the southern pathway of Randall’s Island, in view of Flood Rock’s former location. The monument renders an image of the Flood Rock explosion through the displacement of nearly 9000 lengths of wood (reminiscent of the classic toy known as a “pinscreen”). Tipped on its side—so that both the bottom and top of the monument are visible—Clifford’s work literally upends the traditional monument and illustrates the force and displacement at work in man’s carving of the East River channel.