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Spots of Urban Stillness: Guggenheim’s Stillspotting, April/May weekends | Media and Architecture 2012

Spots of Urban Stillness: Guggenheim’s Stillspotting, April/May weekends

via http://bit.ly/woqn5M

The Guggenheim presents:

stillspotting nyc: queens
Transhistoria by Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO – IL)
April 14-15, April 21-22, April 28-29, May 5-6, 2012
More information here.

See my post on last fall’s stillspotting:nyc

via Urban Omnibus:
is a generous and open-ended project responding to the question of how residents and visitors alike can “escape, find respite, and make peace with their space in [a] ‘city that never sleeps’.” The question seems especially relevant for a place like Jackson Heights; designed as an early 20th century solution to the dense overcrowding of Manhattan, this “garden community” is now one of the most densely populated and culturally diverse neighborhoods in the United States. For Transhistoria, the Guggenheim asked the architects at Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO-IL) to take this diversity as a point of departure.

…The two-hour self-guided walking tour that SO-IL design is punctuated by informal gatherings at different “stillspots” between Roosevelt Avenue and Northern Boulevard where original works of prose and poetry commissioned by SO-IL are read by volunteers and discussed by all. The architects have selected a group of Queens-affiliated artists worthy of attention, including renowned poets Roger Sedarat and Maria Terrone; Chaplain William Alan Briceland; writers Erik Baard, Premilla Nadasen, René Georg Vasicek, and Nicole Steinberg; and rappers of the group Das Racist, Ashok Kondabolu and Himanshu Suri (who is also a community organizer with Seva NY).

…The sites are as gratifyingly diverse and surprising as the texts with which they have been paired: the roof of the Jackson Heights Jewish Center, a quiet living room on the first floor of a residential midrise, upstairs next to the elevated stage at Terraza 7 Cafe, the garden at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, and at least as many more that I was unable to visit. All of these residential, commercial and public spaces are tied together by SO-IL’s elegant and subtle design intervention: a set of blue foam core stools arranged for stillspotters to gather. The furniture does not create or frame its site so much as merely mark it — encouraging physical restfulness, but also perceptual alertness to one’s surroundings. In the garden at St. Mark’s, a massive cherry blossom tree offered sanctuary enough from the bustle of the street while shedding thousands of its pale pink petals with every gust of wind. Here, on a carpet of discarded leaves, a volunteer read Maria Terrone’s reflection on the therapeutic and transformative effects of learning to cook Indian food from her neighbor, experimenting with a whole new set of ingredients than those tried and tested by her Italian upbringing. The resulting sensory experience was profoundly beautiful and peaceful, and it certainly offered stillness amid what Maria Terrone describes as the “choreographed chaos” of the street nearby.

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