Open House New York is unlocking doors and waiving admission fees all across the city this weekend. Have you signed up to explore Bayside’s Fort Totten? A peek inside the Chrysler Building? A Cathedral tour of St John the Divine? From historic homes to botanic gardens to architecture offices to skyscrapers, the choices seem limitless. Of particular interest to Omnibus readers is a trip to Wave Hill to view the exhibition Remediate / Re-vision, which showcases a wide variety of public art projects that engage the natural environment by improving conditions, increasing awareness and recasting the role of the artist as an instigator of ecological awareness and action. Some of the projects shown will be familiar to Omnibus devotees, especially George Trakas’ design for the Newtown Creek Nature Walk and Natalie Jeremijenko and The Living’s Amphibious Architecture. The show (including an Omnibus-produced video on the Creek’s design) is on view through November 28th, but if you sign up through openhousenewyork.org and go this weekend, admission is free. Next week, Wave Hill is programming a closer look at the site’s unique ecology: on October 17th, join Trakas and Gabriel Willow of the Aududon Society for a tour of some of the plants and animals that make Newtown Creek their home.
The streets and spaces of the East Village will be taken over by the participatory art and technology events of Conflux for the next two days, starting with a talk by “legendary urban explorer” Steve Duncan, tonight at 7pm. Take a look at our preview of the event or peruse the complete schedule of performances, walks, workshops, artist talks, games, expeditions and tours at confluxfestival.org.
Tomorrow is also the start of the Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Week, the fourth annual “education initiative offering free admission for all museum visitors and hosting a series of public programs surrounding the National Design Awards.” Mediabistro lists Seven Ways to Spend Your National Design Week, some of which take place in other parts of the country. To find events in New York though, you can go to the National Design Week site, which lists everything from free movie screenings to galas.
The Underdome project maps out competing theories, agendas and strategies for creating a more energy efficient world. We’ll hear directly from the project’s initiators — Janette Kim and Erik Carver — in next week’s feature, but first check out the first of a series of four panel discussions next Tuesday at 630 at Studio-X, with Keller Easterling, Petra Todorovich and June Williamson, moderated by Georgeen Theodore.
New York City’s Department of City Planning recently released the draft recommendations for Vision 2020, a work-in-progress building off of the City’s first comprehensive waterfront plan, released in 1992. Community input from borough workshops and public forums resulted in the current recommendations, now available for download and review. One of two core components of WAVES (the Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy, a citywide initiative launched in April), Vision 2020 will lay out long-term goals for the enhancement of the City’s waterfront and waterways (complemented by the New York City Waterfront Action Agenda, which will focus on short-term priorities to be implemented within the next three years). Public input is still open — on October 12, City Planning will host a public meeting to present the draft recommendations and hear community feedback, at NYU’s Rosenthal Pavilion. If you can’t make it, comments can also be submitted online through November 12.
Last week, Newtown Creek was announced as an EPA Superfund Site, a national program to rehabilitate the country’s most polluted sites. To effect change on a local scale, HabitatMap and the Newtown Creek Alliance just announced CreekSpeak, a project cataloguing the oral history of local inhabitants through interactive maps. The objective of the project is to “highlight and document the experiential knowledge of individuals who are inside narrators of day-to-day life in these communities.” Environmental justice meets oral history and map mashups! Check out the stories (embedded below) by clicking on an orange flag for inhabitant profiles or a blue flag for specific site information..
THE SOLITARY LIFE OF CRANES
Another narrative on urban life from a unique perspective — that of crane operators — can be seen in The Solitary Life of Cranes, a short film by Eva Weber that exposes the “invisible life of a city, its patterns and hidden secrets, seen through the eyes of crane drivers working high above its streets.” We have only seen the trailer (embedded below), and unfortunately there are no screenings currently planned in the US, but you can read BLDGBLOG’s account of the film in his ruminations on Urban Optometry — or purchase the DVD (and find information about Weber’s other short documentary, City of Cranes) on the film’s website.
.THE LAST NEWSPAPER
This week, The Last Newspaper opened at The New Museum, “a major exhibition inspired by the ways artists approach the news and respond to the stories and images that command the headlines.” Some familiar names, including the Center for Urban Pedagogy and Joseph Grima with Kazys Varnelis, are serving as some of the partner organizations for the show, groups that will engage in public dialogue, research and presentation in an attempt to infuse the museum with active “intellectual production as well as display… posing new possibilities for a contemporary art museum experience.” The Last Newspaper will be on view through January 9, 2011.
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The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.