Exhibition

Residency at Jameco Exchange & No Longer Empty

August 13th, 2018 by gabrielle | No Comments

In the summer of 2016, Gabrielle was back to asking people for guided tours. This time in Jamaica, Queens, as part of her summer residency at No Longer Empty’s Jameco Exchange. 

Asking passersby on the street in Jamaica, she asked people to step into her make-shift photo studio for a portrait and to answer the question, “Where would you take me on a guided tour?” The work also brought into a new context the Intersection | Prospect Heights guidebooks–which when people perused them in Jamaica, elicited comments of “I know how that feels…” and “I go there to shop!” and of course, “I think gentrification is happening everywhere…”

The linkages across space, even in one city, were significant–and were echoed by where Jamaica residents would in fact, take someone on a tour. While Jamaica Ave got a lot of love, locales also ranged from the local pizza place to Paris, France. Lower Manhattan, going home to Rhode Island, or to the small town in Minnesota visited just once, also figured significantly in this imagined geography.

Intersection | Jamaica built on a much earlier work, Playground, in which Gabrielle asked people in East Harlem the very same question in 2002. One of those people had said he’d take her to Jamaica — and finally, in 2016, she got there.

I’d take you to Jamaica, Queens. 165th Street. I didn’t go to Jamaica Queens until I was like fourteen years old. But, Jamaica Queens is like home to me. Still, everybody there knows me, the people haven’t changed much.

– Pierre Rene, the Bedazzler

 

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Intersection|Prospect Heights : A few places it popped up

January 3rd, 2016 by buscada | No Comments

We installed almost 20 Intersection|Prospect Heights popup exhibitions in everyday places all around Prospect Heights. These included the supermarket, the library, the hardware store, dry cleaners and bars, among other places. One of the highlights of the project was forming relationships with these businesses and the ways that they came to host the project, and in many sites, to really support it, look out for it, and feel proud of it.

Intersection|Prospect Heights popup Met Food. The place that kept me going in my research, which David told me “talks more about the sense of community” than anywhere else, and the place to which I was most thrilled to see these stories and photographs brought back, almost 15 years later. Frank and Abdul, community-builders, and incredibly supportive people in this project. Not to mention hosts who on our guided tours provided all participants with bananas. Amazing.

2015-10-01 13.05.14Caree Cleaners.

KimChiGrillKimchi Grill, where our neighborhood stories were right next to another essential – hot sauce.

IntersectionPH-pintchikPintchik Hardware.

DSC09412COLOR Bklyn. They shared their last months on Washington Avenue with us, and valiantly put the project out on the street everyday, protecting it from wind and rain, and helping us to engage people passing by on the street.

IntersectionPH-GranCastillo The legendary El Gran Castillo de Jagua – even in its new location, still a major community landmark, and one of the most popular popup exhibitions.

IntersectionPH-08987Brooklyn Public Library. One of the most wonderful parts of this project was working with BPL, and finding all the synergies between Intersection and all the amazing initiatives going on at BPL – from the Brooklyn Transitions series to the Brooklyn Collection to Our Streets, Our Stories, and beyond. The installation above was in the Central Branch’s children’s room, where we got some of the most heartfelt stories contributed, including the one below.

DSC08974

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Intersection | Prospect Heights : Process in pictures

December 31st, 2015 by gabrielle | No Comments

The process of bringing Intersection | Prospect Heights to the public from in-depth research, a new idea, a launch and finally an amazing three-month long experience, was truly a highlight of 2015.

There’s much to say on the kinds of experiences we had and the kinds of conversations we were privileged to be a part of, but for now – we thought you’d like to see a little of what the process of bringing the project to the public was like. A few of our favorite moments of making it happen, in pictures.

Mike looks at his guidebookReconnecting with our tour guides from 15 years ago. Here Mike Halkias of the Usual reads his own guide, and remarks on how much more hair he has in the cover picture.

DSC08827 DSC08831Receiving the printers proofs for all six of our guidebooks – seeing them all together finally, in living color. Holding the dummy proofs in our hands – feeling what the guides might really feel like – one of the best days of 2015.

DSC08958The guides and pop-up exhibitions come together – with places for people to leave their own stories.

DSC08974Thrilling to bring one of our very favorite images back to the neighborhood. We’ve loved this boy since Gabrielle photographed him at the Conrad McRae basketball tournament at the Dean Street playground in 2002.

DSC08991Installation began at Brooklyn Public Library – and shortly after setting down our first pop-up, it was so gratifying to see this man be the first to pick up a guidebook.

IMG_6988Once people started to pick up those guides, the pop-ups needed to be refilled regularly – much to our delight. While the installations at BPL and Met Food needed to be refilled most often, all of the locations required our regular trips around the neighborhood with the artists’ best friend, a shopping cart. Public art is glamorous – and we were happy for a very mild autumn!

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Intersection | Prospect Heights in the press

December 31st, 2015 by buscada | No Comments
Intersection|Prospect Heights guided tour
We want to thank all the journalists who took our Intersection|Prospect Heights project to heart and wrote such enthusiastic articles about it in the fall of 2015. These thoughtful writers came to so many of the public events, taking part, taking notes, thinking deeply about the questions of development, displacement and sustainability through the project’s personal stories.

 

The Intersection | Prospect Heights press round-up

Brooklyn Magazine
Before Brooklyn’s “Newest Neighborhood” Pacific Park Arrives, a Reflection on How Things Were

Urban Omnibus
Embedding Histories in a Changing Prospect Heights, by Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani

Emerging City
Engaging Change & Displacement – One Story at a Time in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, an interview with Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani

DNAinfo
Share What Prospect Heights Means to You in New Neighborhood Art Project

Brownstoner
Pop-Up Exhibition Explores Personal Geographies of Prospect Heights

Atlantic Yards Report
Intersection/Prospect Heights project aims to start dialogue on neighborhood change

DNAinfo
How Do You Feel About Atlantic Yards, Survey Asks Prospect Heights Locals

Thanks to Aminah Ricks of Emerging City for the photo above of one of our Intersection|Prospect Heights creative walks, as we finally got to go back to the supermarket!

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Save the date : Intersection | Prospect Heights – this October!

August 27th, 2015 by gabrielle | No Comments

Intersection Prospect Heights guidebooks

A year ago, I thought to myself, “it’s time to go back to the supermarket!”  Not just any supermarket. No – a supermarket on Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, around which a neighborhood has changed dramatically. I was thinking about how we critically need nuanced conversations on sense of place, community representation, displacement and sustainability. Prospect Heights is a microcosm of the gentrification and large-scale development pressures facing Brooklyn today, with a marked decrease in African American residents over the past fifteen years, and a marked increase in residents with incomes over $100,000. Over the next ten years, as the Atlantic Yards and infill developments come to completion, the population will be up to 70% larger.

What does all this mean? How do we talk about it, argue about it, and even laugh and cry about it? This October, using the deep ethnographic and photographic work I began 15 years ago with the Guided Tours project, Buscada, in partnership with PHNDC and the Brooklyn Public Library, are set to launch a new public art & dialogue project to do just that.

Intersection | Prospect Heights is a series of unofficial, idiosyncratic and personal guidebooks, popup exhibitions around the neighborhood (especially at the supermarket!), creative walks, and public dialogues. We hope you’ll take part in the project to travel back in time, back to the supermarket, and laugh and cry with us – about the past and future of Prospect Heights, as well as that of other neighborhoods around the city facing these same pressures.

More info coming soon – but mark your calendars for the project opening & our first public dialogue on October 7th, 6:30pm!

guidebooks_blogpost

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Doing it justice : care in participatory work

June 11th, 2014 by buscada | No Comments

Two years ago, in March of 2012, we launched the Triangle Fire Open Museum, following up on our Triangle Fire Open Archive project, initiated for the centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire of 1911. There were many critical parts of this project for us – not least the politics of understanding why a tragedy of one hundred years ago still speaks eloquently about critical questions of immigrants’, women’s and workers’ rights today. We’ve talked about this a great deal, in the projects, and in our writing about the Open Archive and Museum – such as our post on Urban Omnibus – but another critical element of the project is one we speak about less often, and yet is an element which informs all of our work in which we ask members of the public to collaborate : caring for the objects, ideas and memories entrusted to us, and making worthy homes for those precious contributions, which value, honor, and protect them. I recently found this clip from CUNY TV (in which I’ve inadvertently been given a new job title!) in which we talk about that idea, and how it was made manifest in the Open Archive and Open Museum.

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A phonebooth : a masterpiece

July 30th, 2013 by gabrielle | No Comments

I was both thrilled and stumped when Radhika Subramaniam and Margot Bouman asked me to contribute to “Masterpieces of Everyday New York: Objects as Story”, the exhibition now on view at Parsons Sheila Johnson Design Center. Why? Thrilled because I’m a New Yorker, born and bred, I live here now, teach students about cities, and generally have taken New York as a part of my being and birthright. Thrilled because I make photographic and urbanist projects that are all about objects and the emotional meanings vested in objects and buildings – like our Triangle Fire Open Archive and Open Museum, and my Guided Tours and SPURA projects. Thrilled because I loved the British Museum & BBC series, A History of the World in 100 Objects, which Radhika and Margot acknowledge as inspiration for this exhibition. But stumped too, because how could I possibly narrow down the number of objects in this city which have been meaningful to me – and the number I find to be important to tell the city’s own story as intertwined with my own? And of course, to be brutally honest, I wanted to pick something really good.

But what? And how to make it something that only I could really write about? I mulled it over and over, and then, clear as day it came to me. A photograph I had written about before in drafts of my dissertation, diaries, and other places, as the way I imagine New York in my mind’s eye, though daily experience often contradicts it. This photograph of my mother and I standing at a phone booth on Kenmare Street in the early 1980s was taken by my father, and long ago, taken by me out of our family collection and carried with me on trips far and away as a way of remembering home. In this way, my nomination of the phone booth was a double object – both the photograph and the once-ubiquitous phone booths of New York themselves.  You can read my full contribution below.

The intertwining of 62 objects keenly felt by their nominators and observers can be seen at Parsons’ Sheila Johnson Design Center until September 4th, 2013.

Read more about the exhibition on Design Observer and Paper Magazine, and several blogs.

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This is a double object. It is both the phone booth pictured (the kind you now see on city streets denuded of their telephones) and it is the photograph itself.

This picture of my mother and me was taken by my father on the corner of Kenmare and Mulberry Streets in the early 1980s. And somehow, this picture has become my image of New York. It is not just the New York of my childhood, but rather this image persists as the way I think of New York now, though I live here still, and can see for myself that this reality is long gone. In my mind, New York is somewhat grey, Datsuns and Plymouths dot the streets, and the sidewalk is patterned with dropped chewing gum (this last may in fact be true.)

Looking at this photograph, I think of both the phone booth and the mother and child using it. Here, we are joined at the booth with our matching umbrellas, but as I got older, phone booths allowed me to stretch that distance between us. I remember my mother’s repeated refrain, as I traveled far to school on my own at age 11 : “Be sure you always have a quarter with you to call if you need me.”

This arrangement seems almost impossible to imagine now, when people give their children cell phones in elementary school. To suggest that a child might roam New York with but a quarter in her pocket as a way to call home (and with no way to call her!) would be unthinkable to many parents I now know.

As I became a teenager, the phone booth was less the way I called home, and more the way I called friends: beeping my first boyfriend from phone booths (so self-important, and so terribly high-tech at the time), and learning the special code (now long forgotten) one could use to find the unlisted phone booth’s number, so someone could call you back.

These ubiquitous booths weren’t beautiful, nor did they always work, but they provided a (sometimes false) sense of privacy in public for conversations, scribbling messages, drunkenness, exhaustion.

New York’s public phone booths waned as my own participation with the public world grew. Now, as an adult, out in the world, and thinking about how my young son will one day call me, these private little spaces from which to reach out to others in the midst of a public street are now only husks, replaced by devices in our pockets, which people imagine envelop them in privacy, but mostly create intersecting bubbles of sound and chatter as we walk down the street.

 

 

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Layered SPURA : publication

July 29th, 2013 by gabrielle | No Comments

 

The RFP for the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) site has gone out, the bids from developers are coming in, and it is possible that new things will happen at the SPURA site. My article “Layered SPURA : Spurring Conversations through Visual Urbanism” featured in Radical History Review asks some questions about  this process : What of the site’s history? What of the ongoing need for affordable housing? What of the need for thoughtful architecture in the building of all housing? Will these things be heeded in this process? How can thinking these through, and new ways of thinking about contested space, help inform the way we think about and plan for SPURA? “Layered SPURA” explores my four-year visual urbanist project on SPURA, a collaboration with students and community groups to use creative practice to ask complex questions and to reconsider the city.

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Making Meaning Together : publication

July 29th, 2013 by gabrielle | No Comments

As we get ready to think about the next steps in the Triangle Fire Open Archive and Open Museum projects, I’m looking back at the article I published on Urban Omnibus last fall, “Making Meaning Together : The Triangle Fire Open Archive and Open Museum.”

The piece was about our projects, temporary and permanent memorials, and how to continue ephemeral work – and whether this is an oxymoron. Stay tuned for new and ongoing versions of this ephemeral-archival work.

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Buscada on CNN!

March 30th, 2012 by Kaushik1000 | No Comments

The CNN next list TV show and blog made a great video about our recent project Layered SPURA. The video talks about the history of the area and then visual urbanist approach taken by Buscada in creating dialogue between communities in the area.

Getting interviewed on a cold February morning by the CNN crew.

The Layered SPURA / City Studio project, headed by Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani, explores this complex site using a hybrid approach of pedagogy, art and research, and involves long-term collaborations between Lower East Side community organizations and students in Bendiner-Viani’s City Studio, a part of the New School’s Urban Programs. The Layered SPURA exhibition, a culmination of four years of student, faculty, and community collaboration which appeared at the New School’s Sheila Johnson Design Center in Winter 2012, does not suggest solutions for a place beleaguered by top-down planning, but rather hopes to spur new conversations amongst people with different points of view about SPURA’s past, present and future.
Find out more about this project : Layered SPURA

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