Monday, September 14, 2009

Memories of daily life in now-empty storefronts

You may have seen the little signs taped to a few empty storefronts along 14th Street between Avenue B and First Avenue. It's the work of local artist Nicholas Fraser. I sent him a note asking for some background on the signs.

His response:

"The flyer/cards are my first stab at trying to collect memories people might have of their day-to-day encounters with now empty businesses along 14th Street. I will then re-frame these memories and create a series of ephemeral text drawings placed in front of unoccupied commercial spaces. The texts combine these donated stories and daily observations, evoking past and present moments of daily life at the transitional sites. Laid out in ash and other impermanent materials, each work disintegrates and disappears quickly under the rush of ongoing urban life, echoing the temporal and transitory nature of the moments documented."

This will be part of the Art in Odd Places festival that will feature performance/installations/etc. along 14th Street. You can see some earlier versions of this idea on his Web site.

He has since made larger fliers with more open-ended questions. As he says, it's not important that the memory be from a particular location -- only that it involves a now-closed store somewhere. (Certainly plenty to choose from.) "The limitation to 14th Street is somewhat arbitrary," he says. "Memories from any place in the city really are just as pertinent."

You may send your memories/anecdotes to

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