Created in collaboration with the artist’s neighbors in Sugar Hill, Harlem, ACROSS AN EMPTY LOT: a temporary memorial to the empty space marks the present moment by honoring the empty space that will soon be gone and the life that surrounds it. A continuous, large-scale video projection activates the century-old wall of 849 Saint Nicholas Avenue. The footage is captured from within the community and depicts local plants that will lose sunlight, hands in connection to the physicality of a wall, eyes that will witness this change and clocks that slowly track the time. Text is collected from passersby who are asked to imagine that the wall has lived through over 11 decades in Harlem, and what it might say if it could speak. The video content accumulates throughout the project’s duration, creating a temporal portrait of the neighborhood and igniting a communal urban space with dialogue.
This work was initially created and exhibited over the course of seven nights in spring and summer, 2016.
The lot is no longer empty. This work was made in 2018, a time where construction was in progress and the time of its completion – when many new people would move into the neighborhood – was approaching. Through collected video footage, recorded audio interviews, and treasured fragments of the past, residents of Sugar Hill recount their lives in relationship to the diminishing empty space and uncover unknown histories. In this hyper-local site-specific multimedia art installation event, LOT REIMAGINED strives to engage the public in conversation about the changing environment while evoking a newfound sense of community, respect for native residents, and love for the space. The live preformance of this work occurred on October 3, 12, 16, and 26, in 2018.
This second work in the series was made possible in part with funding from the Upper manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation and administered by LMCC. It was made by Sarah Cameron Sunde, John McCracken, Traci McCracken, Rene Stewart, Rita Stewart, Carl Karni-Bain, Eric Washington, SaxE, Sjournee Cornelius-Quaidoo, Signe Harriday, Marianna de Nadal, Gavin Tao, Joshua Dumas, Manny Tejeda, and additional residents of Sugar Hill.
LOT x 3 gives new life to documentation from the first two works of this series prior to and during this building’s construction. The purpose was to gather the community across perceived boundaries, engage in dialogue, and reflect on the changing neighborhood.
The steel frame of LOT x 3 is based on the street grid where West 152nd Street meets Saint Nicholas Avenue. Everyone depicted in the artwork lives near this intersection. John, Traci, René and Rita, all born and raised in Sugar Hill, have witnessed countless changes throughout the decades. LOT x 3 honors the lives of our longtime Sugar Hill neighbors and welcomes our newest neighbors to the block. As Juan always says, “Say hello, make that connection, because we’re all here together.”
Artwork by Sarah Cameron Sunde with paintings by Carl Karni-Bain, photography by Manny Tejeda, and design by Lauren Helpern; in collaboration with neighbors John McCracken, Traci McCracken, René Stewart-Pearce, Rita Stewart, Juan Graves, Eric K. Washington, Sax-E-1, and Signe Harriday
Fabrication by Shape Studio. Thanks to: J McDonald, Ryan Brennan, Marianna de Nadal, Gavin Tao, Sjournee Cornelius-Quaidoo, Larry Ingram, Mary Serafy, Jennifer Almonte, Emily Blumenfeld, Hajoe Moderegger, Mark Addison, Clarinda Mac Low, Harriet Senie, Paul Walsh, Tyler Coburn, Joanna Fiduccia, and everyone who stopped by in 2016 and 2018.
LOT x3 and the entire LOT series was made possible with support from 849 Saint Nicholas Ave HDFC, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, administered by LMCC, The Field, and DIAP at the City College of New York.