We moved recently from one Brooklyn neighborhood to another. The idea of “home” is on our minds, so it seemed the perfect moment to visit Transhistoria, an edition of the Guggenheim Museum’s stillspotting nyc, a project examining disparate experiences in New York City, designed by architects at Solid Objectives–Idenburg Liu.
Transhistoria is a self-guided two-hour walk through spots of stillness (called “stillspots”) in Jackson Heights, Queens. Each stillspot features somebody reciting stories from Queens-based writers. Though these stories address urbanity’s darker aspects, they’re consistently frank when it comes to celebrating the architecture we all practice: homebuilding.
Home can be a major source of calm and joy. In its boundaries (whether a room, an apartment, a city) we feel saner; external nuisances don’t touch us. Transhistoria leads attendees across one of the world’s most culturally diverse neighborhoods. We encountered living communities and saw their homes.
Conceived by David van der Leer, curator of architecture and urban studies at the Guggenheim, stillspotting nyc is a two-year multidisciplinary project that will stage exhibits in all five boroughs. Transhistoria follows To a Great City (Manhattan) and Sanatorium (Brooklyn). A new edition opens this July in Staten Island.
Here is a slideshow documenting our Transhistoria visit. Under hazy skies we heard at least a dozen of Jackson Heights’s 138 languages. By the time we left the neighborhood we felt stronger connections with life’s ceaseless flux, with the human capacity to build, rebuild, then build again.
Jon Cotner and Claire Hamilton have done projects for the BMW Guggenheim Lab, The Believer, and The Hairpin. Cotner is coauthor of Ten Walks/Two Talks. This summer Cotner and Hamilton will lead 12-hour nocturnal Fire Island walks. Follow them here.
Click here to see more photos from this slideshow.
The Transhistoria lobby, which SO–IL put in a soon-to-be-completed development called Plaza 75.
A playground outside Elmhurst Hospital in Jackson Heights.
A local bodega.
During this tale of urban exhaustion, the protagonist deals with anonymity through routines. He works, he eats, he sleeps. Routine acts as consolation.
A pedestiran plaza on 37th Road in Jackson Heights.
Photos by Claire Hamilton