Streetscape Essentials, the New York Sequel

Hi! Here is a follow-up of my ongoing architectural explorations of Streetscapes Essentials (see previous posts in this blog) as part of my research project. What is essential to the streetscapes in an emblematic city like New York? What made or makes its urban landscapes so special and valuable in a constantly changing society?

For the past months, I tried to detect and isolate the very elements in New York’s streetscapes that can hold personal stories. For this, I used my own database of pictures, videos, films, podcasts and books of or related to New York (see also some references below). Going through this material has been an interesting journey! In the next few weeks and starting today, I will present these elements to you via my Instagram account: one by one. Some of these elements are quite iconic, others are rather ordinary or seem of less impact in our collective imaginary. Some are real or practical, others more abstract or poetic, some even belong exclusively to cinematographic or literary imaginaries. Highlighting these essential landscape elements, it became clear that “the essential” never is about isolated objects in space but rather about more complex settings, configurations in space and time that define situations, of ordinary or extraordinary nature.

Once a first series of “essential situations” was identified, I looked into each of them and tried to understand them better, frame them in space and time. So I explored and studied the spatial qualities in each of them and tried to understand how they relate to their immediate landscape environment, what the situation actually consists of: when, why and how do these situations occur and what is the broader spatial setting for these? My way of achieving this, was to actually redraw and recreate these situations in detailed ceramic models on scale, highlighting what matters and blurring what I consider less essential in these situations. Soon I will also present these to you…

As I mentioned in my previous post, the photographs and sculptures are to be understood as actual conversation pieces as they might allow us to dig up and share personal or collective stories that happened in the streets of New York, or even in other cities. Or it might get us to talk about the things that happened to your favorite book, movie of television character, but in some way it touched your life? I will be happy to listen to your stories! So please feel free to drop me a line, send me a link or share a book, movie or television fragment with me to continue! Thanks!

In the meantime, I continue the research…

Check out our Instagram account for the presentation of “Essential Elements”.

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