LINDROTH + NEWICKInstallations

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A/B/C: Archaeology Body City
Municipal Art Society, New York City, 1994
The African Burial Ground Competition Coalition
New York's 18th Century African Burial Ground & The Memorial Competition
Second Award



C >Access\Culture\Shrine

African Burial Ground Memorial

To Moigoi and Wanboi and all the dispossessed youth of Africa for perpetuation of communion with ancestral spirits through the fight for African Freedom, and in the firm faith that the dead, the living, and the unborn will unite to rebuild the destroyed shrines.

Jomo Kenyatta, Facing Mount Kenya (1938)

A people without history is like the wind on the buffalo grass.
Sioux saying

Using this burial ground as its foundation, we propose a symbolic center of all African-American History and Culture in the form of an electronic library system linking databases from universities, museums, libraries as well as other public and private systems around the country and the world. The form of the library is a plus sign representing a coalition, a connector. Information can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To be included: biographical sketches of African-Americans living and deceased, images and descriptions of all the visual arts and architecture; audio capabilities such as musical compositions, lyrics, operatic works and oratory; choreographic notation, literature, religion, politics, education, finance, science, agriculture, philosophy, social criticism, exploration, invention, sports, film and television. An archive of the testimony of witnesses to African-American history will be maintained.

Three bronze columns located at the street edge contain in their bases, video screens which present continuously the activity taking place within the center and information available from the database. These columns range in height from 20 to 30 feet. They are constructed of bronze plates with steel substructure. The surfaces are incised with language and patterns.

To the west of the library is a large conical tower containing a Performance Hall, a ceremonial entry space and connection to the Burial Ground. At its base the cone pierces the ground allowing a view to the graves below in a way similar to the bathyscope used by oceanographers to look below the surface of the water. The Performance Hall is a place of community and entertainment. The performance presented here entitled Archaeology/Body/City, was inspired by the discovery of The African Burial Ground. Through the use of photographs, sculpture and dialogue it attempts to understand relative issues of race, gender, and politics in the present day as well as in 18th century Colonial New York.

The theater and the electronic library are disposed not at the level of the street, but are held, suspended at some future level in a web of structure above the street. They do not occupy their sites, but rather are "surrounded" by the city in all directions.