Memory is inseparable from its materiality. This exhibition takes place in a center for artists’ studios and arts education that is currently pending renovation in the town of Yonkers, New York. Constructed in 1898, the building served as Public School 12, and was then inhabited by various public initiatives, namely Yonkers Community Action Program (YCAP). In recent years, due to power outages and basement floods, most occupants had fled. Yet, dusty fliers, half-legible murals, colorful drawings, boxes of unused supplies testify to untold stories of care. Along with traces of grass, birds and insects, the exhibition site illustrates both natural and man-made cycles of change, laying bare the physical traces of time as a kind of historical palimpsest. Experiencing the site is akin to navigating a labyrinth of temporal ambivalence, wedged between the melancholic revealing of the no-longer, and utopian revelries of the not-yet.
The show features a guestbook activated by touch, a performative graphic score, a naturalist’s overflowing collection of specimens and observatory drawings, sounds recorded both onsite and during travels, playing cards depicting second-hand oral histories of the Iranian Revolution. All flanked by artifacts salvaged and repurposed from the building. Exhibiting processes of biological change, wear, and participatory play, these works transfigure the site and reaffirm it as organically alive, an evolutionary stage in the transformation between dirt, land, and the purposeful act of unforgetting.