Rocks Around the Block


City blocks are often taken for granted. We traverse them everyday but usually think about our final destination rather than the pavement under our feet. One Block Radius, a project initiated by Glowlab, a collective comprised of Brooklyn-based artists Christina Ray and Dave Mandl, attempts to challenge this relationship by presenting a semantic record of the square block surrounding the New Museum of Contemporary Art's future location in NYC's Bowery neighborhood. The online project collects photos and audio samples that document the discarded objects, local fashions, forms of communication, and even smells found on the block. The project is a vivid example of psychogeographic cartography, where objects in urban spaces (such as fire hydrants, signs, graffiti) are documented and placed on an evolving map that reveals the emotional character of the city. The website also includes audio and video interviews with residents and the New Museum's architect. Since museum construction begins later this year, One Block Radius could be the last collective reminder of a neighborhood in temporal and physical transition. - Jonah Brucker-Cohen