Takings, Clay Art Center, Port Chester, NY 2012
Takings is a site-specific and interactive installation sited at Clay Art Center in Port Chester, NY that critiques the use of eminent domain while promoting an emergent system. This system references a Jane Jacobs model for self-organized communities that grants agency to the viewer. A sculptural “key” is provided to highlight the metaphors of transition and replacement used repeatedly in this exhibition.
When entering the gallery, the viewer is confronted with a boarded up architectural fragment. The boards are comprised of planks of plywood and ceramic castings of shipping pallets. The castings highlight the economic motivation of developments and how the Takings Clause denies access to the displaced.
As the viewer enters the main space of the gallery they see a large wooden cube. This cube is both the historic walled city that provided safety for its citizens and the contemporary construction site that keeps cities in constant flux. The doorway is sealed off with a labor-intensive terra cotta and cable tie fence. By placing the fence across this entrance, it confronts issues of access to a space intended for public use. Throughout the exhibition, viewers are invited to take one link from the fence by cutting the cable ties. Through this community effort the viewer will be able to reclaim access and enter the space. During this process the viewer is also invited to climb the ladder for an aerial view of the suspended ceramic modulars hung inside the cube. These modulars serve as a metaphor of the emergent system that self-organizes communities and a bridge that connects the individual to the community.