New York is a great town – always in flux – great neighbourhoods become slums and then enter new transition stages – even the arctic arrives for a visit or two – tourists and entertainment seekers – and new museums with ventures of the real and imaginary.
I received information about Something that caught our attention as it involved the arctic – and it was going to be held at NEW MUSEUM that has its illuminated upper part looking like an iceberg floating above the Bowery – in what was just recently museum nowhere. After an exchange of e-mails that is mentioned bellow, I knew that my target event was going to be held Saturday February 2nd at 7 PM – and the Museum knew that I intend to review the Museum as well.
So, Saturday I took on Second Avenue the #15 Select – direction downtown. You know this is the former “flashing blue” express that makes only SELECT stops – supposedly about every 10 city blocks. I say former – this because after all that excitement – the Bloomberg – Lahota transportation team of the City of New York forgot to ask the City Police Commissioner who was slowly simmering, until he boiled over these flashing blue lights, as he thought they were police monopoly – so now the Mayor’s beauty was chastised – no more blue lights. Further – when I arrived at 14th street – the driver decreed – next stop Allen Street, which makes it 20 blocks to next stop or some 5 blocks bellow what I was expecting – a stop somewhere between 1st and 4-th Streets.
When we reached Houston, the traffic was very slow – lots of taxi-cabs. The building across the entrance to East Houston where the bus turns to the left – there is a whole block new Whole Foods store, and above it “Smorgesburg” Scandinavian restaurant, and the East corner has the new boutique Gem Hotel. The area is culturally mixed and is in throes of transition thanks to real-estate maneuvers of gentrification – something like South Miami Beach was years ago, and European tourists enjoying elephant hunting while staying in the new hotels.
The Bowery once hub to theaters and culture, then home for the homeless, drunks, clubs, now gets restaurants, galleries, and right next to the Bowery Mission, and a good looking bar where the waitresses did not know anything about the Museum, the neighborhood got this NEW MUSEUM and its activities. But horror, when I got to the museum – doors closed, lights were going out, and the lonely person sitting at a desk inside had to be convinced by my hammering on the glass window to come to the door and tell me that there is nothing and nobody tonight.
It Was freezing cold, flakes of snow in the air, some slush on the ground – the Arctic express – so, I turned around heading to the uptown #15 Select that runs on First Avenue and in this direction does stop as expected at 1st Street.
WHAT: Performance: The Fortunetellers
SPONSOR: New Museum
WHEN: Saturday, February 2; 7 pm
WHERE: New Museum, 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
SPEAKER: Artist Ellie Ga combines narrative genres such as the memoir and travelogue; her projects explore the limits of photographic documentation and span a variety of media, culminating in performances and installations. Ga’s projects are research-intensive and often center on the artist’s role as interpreter within historical and scientific frameworks. She received her MFA from Hunter College and is a cofounder of Ugly Duckling Presse. Ga was recently a Mejan Resident at the Royal College of Art in Stockholm and a researcher at the Centre for Maritime Archaeology in Alexandria, Egypt.
BACKGROUND: The Fortunetellers is an autobiographical narrative lecture based on the five months that artist Ellie Ga spent aboard Tara, a research sailboat frozen into the ice near the North Pole. The Fortunetellers incorporates a vast array of documents (photographs, videos, annotated sketches, maps, travel log, etc.) and superimposes live storytelling and recorded sound to conjure up the terms and rituals of daily life in the Arctic night.
We contacted Gabriel Einsohn then were asked by Hyatt Mannix from the New Museum for information about myself, then I went to the New Museum at the above date – and the place was closed and lights in the process of being closed – the watchman knew nothing – there was nobody else in the building. The bar next door knew nothing - nothing – absolutely nothing.
So I left and on the way back to the uptown #15 Selective bus on First Avenue stopped at Old Timers’ world famous Yonnah Schimmel Knishery at 137 East Houston Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues) and loaded up on those fabulous potato knishes – Jalapeno, Garlic, Kashe, Red cabbage, Cheese & chocolate – a steady pillar in the changing neighbourhood.
Then, I walked from 2nd Avenue to 1-st Avenue on East 1st street – that has a Cozy Cafe, shoes left on the sidewalk for the shoeless, and Adir Realty. It took me right to the bus-stop I was aiming at.
Back home, picked at the internet, and discovered for Elie Ga:
January 15, 2013
LE CONSORTIUM, DIJON
February 1, 2013
NEW MUSEUM, NEW YORK
THE FORTUNETELLERS: engagements, episodes, punctuations.
The Fortunetellers began in 2008 when I was the artist-in-residence for a scientific expedition near the North Pole. For five months I was on board Tara, a sailboat that was drifting in the frozen pack ice of the Arctic Ocean.
The Fortunetellers is a collection of performative lectures, installations, videos and texts organized into three categories: ENGAGEMENTS, EPISODES and PUNCTUATIONS. The project is a meditation upon the nature of prediction as it was manifested during the expedition including ancient forms of fortunetelling, weather forecasting, oceanographic research, and the day-to-day routines of 10 people drifting in the Arctic with no control over there immediate future: where there will be next, when they will return home.
Like the drift of Tara through the ice pack, The Fortunetellers is a meandering path of research and recollections, etymologies and metaphors that chart a journey where the rhythm of human time is altered by extreme weather conditions, isolation and darkness. The project is built upon superimpositions: images are layered onto each other in the videos and performances, and the past, present and future tenses are interchangeable in the written accounts.
I wish the Public Relations office of the museum had known to present the correct information in case the event actually took place a day earlier
then advertised and had the will to make the information known. The Bowery Mission are just neighbors, but how is it that the bar next door
does not know about the Museum either?
Does the New Museum follow such topics or it looks only at colors and light effects? Is there an educational angle to the Museum? Does it interact
with its neighborhood or it is just another real estate outpost in the gentrification process?
Will the Museum coexist with the Bowery Mission or the Mission will be sent to the Arctic?