for the city yet to come

Posts tagged “archive

The Renters’ Archive

Posted on September 15, 2013

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working on a new Archiving the City intervention, called “The Renters’ Archive” based on my experiences of renting apartments in Brooklyn over the past decade. This project was commissioned by The Laundromat Project, and developed in collaboration with The Laundromat Project’s Create Change Fellows.


THE RENTERS’ ARCHIVE: Bed Stuy edition
12:30 – 4:30 PM

Venue: For My Sweet Gallery
(1103 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY 11238–between Franklin & Classon)
C train or Shuttle to Franklin

RSVP & Info:

In a nation of homeowners, where owning property is the still The Dream, New York stands out as a city of life-long renters. The Renters’ Archive project provides a way to explore the experience of being a renter, by looking at the objects and habits and relationships and dreams that a person collects over the course of a renting life. On September 21, 2013, The Renters’ Archive will present the opportunity for residents of Bed-Stuy and surrounding neighborhoods to reflect upon their own experiences of being renters–a situation shared by approximately 80% of the neighborhood’s residents.

Please stop by and share your own experiences of renting (or landlording) by partaking in a series of artist-led workshops and performances.

found archive

Posted on July 4, 2011

Walking in the hilly maze of streets between Istiklal Cadessi and Cihangir in Istanbul in July 2009, Itai and I came across a small shop crammed full of boxes of old photographs, and assorted personal objects, like jewelry, used perfume bottles, souvenirs from trips to other places. It was as if the contents of innumerable Istanbul lives had been dumped into his shop. An old man sat outside of the shop, entirely uninterested in us as we poked around and intruded into the forgotten memories of unknown others.  I bought a few photographs from the old man for one lira.

I remembered the walk today when, as I took a book of photographs of the Istanbul bus terminal off the shelf, these photos fell out onto the floor. Picking them up, I felt the bustle and beauty of Istanbul again, its distinguished decay, its fullness and color, its melancholy elegance.

I am not an Istanbullu, and may never be, but I love this city more than I have a right to. In the moment of seeing these black and white photographs I was seized by a longing to return, to know the people in the images, to walk in those places. Despite only visiting once, and for a short time, Istanbul entered my dreams. I search for friends in its hills at night, and always find them, in doorways and courtyards, old friends, good friends. In this way I have never left. What is this longing that infects me, prompting such dreams? Is it for particular people and places? How can these images of strangers and unknown places be as magnetic as friendship?

Orhan Pamuk warns of the dangers of exaggerating his city’s beauty:

Whenever I find myself talking of the beauty and the poetry of Istanbul’s dark streets, a voice inside me warns against exaggeration, a tendency perhaps motivated by a wish not to acknowledge the lack of beauty in my own life. If I see my city as beautiful and bewitching, then my life must be so too. A good many writers of earlier generations fell into this habit when writing about Istanbul: Even as a they extol the city’s beauty, entrancing me with their stories, I am reminded they no longer live the place they describe, preferring the modern comforts of western cities. From these predecessors I learned that the right to heap immoderate lyrical praise on Istanbul’s beauties belongs to those who no longer live there, and not without some guilt: for the writer who talks of the city’s ruins and melancholy is never unaware of the ghostly light that shines down on his life. To be caught in the beauties of the city and the Bosphorus is to be reminded of the difference between one’s own wretched life and the happy triumphs of the past.

Istanbul: Memories and the City, p.56-57

architectural imaginary

Posted on December 12, 2010

The exhibition catalog for Automatic Cities: The architectural imaginary in contemporary art, which ran from Sept 29, 2009 – Jan. 31, 2010, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, was written by curator Robin Clark, and contains an essay by Giuliana Bruno. Here is an excerpt from Bruno’s essay, “Construction Sites: Fabricating the Architectural Imaginary in Art.” An urban image is created by the work of history and the flow of memory. This is because the city of images comprises in its space all of its past histories, with their intricate layers of stories. The urban imaginary is a palimpsest of mutable fictions floating in space and residing in time. Mnemonic narratives condense in space, and their material residue seeps into the imaginative construction of…

dangerous archives?

Posted on December 8, 2010

Watch the development of the case against Julian Assange very carefully. It’s pretty bizzare: sexual assault? espionage? Some are coming to his defense. As my friend Barbara says, one likely result of this drama will be greater restrictions on the way we are able to access, use and create various media archives. CBS News predicts a future of never-ending cyberwar. Never forget: sorting through these sorts of archives or databases is the political practice of our time, made even more so by sheer ubiquity. And the creation of digital archives themselves? What sort of politics is that? One New Republic editorial questions Julian Assange’s/Wikileaks’ status as beacons of serious journalism, governmental transparency and democracy due to their commitment to collect data, without organization and…

my archival practice

Posted on March 23, 2010

I had a great question from my colleague today: Hi Adeola. I’m curious how you think about your archiving practices in relation to your archiving (analysis? retrieval?)… I know in your work you are more focused on studying rather than creating archives. But you do create them, so I’m wondering how the 2 activities relate for you. Is one more personal and the other more academic? Or can there be such a distinction for you? What do you think Benjamin was doing with the Arcades project? This was a great question, because it forced me to think carefully and articulate my approach to archiving. Here is my answer: I don’t work on “the archive”, per se, because I think that it is too fetishized…

archiving the crisis

Posted on March 14, 2010

A recent New York times article highlights Ushahidi a “Kenyan-born” open-source adaptation of wiki technolgy, which has been used in crisis situations across the globe. From the election-related violence in Kenya, to the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile and even to the snowstorms in Washington, DC, Ushahidi technology has come to the rescue. How does it work? Anonymous mobile phone users witnessing an emergency situation, or incident of violence, can text messages to the local Ushahidi number. These messages are instantly relayed to a mapping station and triangulated on interactive maps, and then help may be be dispatched to the crisis area, or researchers may get a sense of where incidences of violence are occuring most frequently, or find out how far inland hurricane…



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