At Momenta Art and Bogart Salon, 56 Bogart, Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Floating in the Long Island Sound not far from City Island in the Bronx, Hart Island is the largest cemetery in the United States and has been New York City’s potter’s field for over 150 years. More than 850,000 people have been buried there in unmarked mass graves, including the poor, the anonymous, and infants of parents without the means for a more dignified funeral. The island and its inhabitants exist in a cartographic and administrative limbo that has made the site illegal to visit and the exact locations of individual graves nearly impossible to determine. The Hart Island Project is a nonprofit foundation that was founded to make the site visible, and to remember the people buried there. It advocates on behalf of the families of the deceased, and successfully sued the City for access to the burial records, which it has now painstakingly made available in a database on its website.
During our 2010 project Reading Governors Island we met Melinda Hunt, the director of the Hart Island Project, and began conversations about a potential collaboration. We are thrilled to report that it is about to happen.
The Hart Island Project has invited us to participate in Citydrift, a collaborative 3-day exploration and recontextualization of the urban environment. Our contribution will be to visit and document “unique places of death,” locations around New York City outside of hospitals or other institutions that witnessed the death of people now buried on Hart Island. At these locations we will gather sounds, visual impressions, and objects and then return to the Citydrift headquarters at 56 Bogart, where we will assemble the results into a mixed media performance and installation. Our goal will be to reveal remarkable things in otherwise unremarkable locations as we contribute to the Hart Island Project’s efforts to expose repressed histories and remember the forgotten. We hope both to honor the lost citizens of New York associated with our selected locations, and to present opportunities to consider the highly provisional factors that separate us all from a similar fate.
The event begins with an opening on Friday September 7 from 7:00-9:00 PM at Momenta Art, located at 56 Bogart Street, a focal point of the arts in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The gallery will be open for 72 hours, during which we will assemble our installation. Many other artists will be participating in Citydrift, so there will lots to see, including panel discussions and talks on Saturday and Sunday. We’ll post more information about the schedule in the coming weeks.
We’re extremely excited for this opportunity and hope that you will stop by.
Unique Places of Death
A Collaboration with the Hart Island Project
Citydrift, September 7-9, 2012
Momenta Art and Bogart Salon, both at 56 Bogart, Bushwick, Brooklyn.