Notes from Underground

Williamsburg Bank, the tallest building Brooklyn.

Williamsburg Bank, the tallest building Brooklyn.

This has been an odd (in a good way) few days. It started on Tuesday with a visit to the Dormitorium exhibit at Parsons of film decors by the Quay Brothers. I was not familiar with the Quay Brothers before the exhibit, but some internet research tells me they have created some very influential stop-motion animated films. A few clips from these films were playing in the exhibit, but it mostly focused on the miniature, and very disturbing, sets used in their films. There were a lot of dolls with broken heads, detailed landscapes and rooms of industrial gray, and macabre scenes involving scissors, arcane typography, and nightmarish people with book heads. I enjoyed it very much.

Stairwell in the Atlantic-Pacific station in Brooklyn.

Stairwell in the Atlantic-Pacific station in Brooklyn.

The next day I had a couple of job interviews, one of which was at a nonprofit and the other at a very fancy antique store on the Upper East Side. I also managed to buy a Holga 120N for $5 at Urban Outfitters and am looking forward to a sunny day when I can take it and my Diana out for some toy camera photography.

Atlantic Avenue, old entrance to the station.

Atlantic Avenue, old entrance to the station.

That night we went on a very cool tour of the Atlantic-Pacific subway station in Brooklyn, lead by a designer, a journalist, and an architect who all worked on the new station plan. It was my first time to visit the station, even though 10 lines go through it and it’s one of the biggest MTA hubs in the city. It was fascinating to hear about the changes the station has undergone over the years and then walk in a massive group through the station, noticing the details of the granite and hallways. I would love to learn more about the subway’s history and might do some research on my own into the stations I regularly take.

Caterpillar People at the Art in Odd Places opening event.

Caterpillar People at the Art in Odd Places opening event.

Yesterday I went to the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) to see the Crossing the Line exhibit and was shocked to walk in and see Sean, an assistant who had lived in a town near me in France, working at the desk. It turns out he moved to New York two weeks ago. So that makes two people I already knew, who I didn’t know were in New York, that I’ve run into over the past two weeks. I guess the world is not as big as it seems. As the Frenchman who was also in the gallery said, the only things that don’t touch in the world are the mountains.

A secret message on the street? Seen at the Art in Odd Places opening event.

A secret message on the street? Seen at the Art in Odd Places opening event.

That night we went to the opening event for Art in Odd Places, which consisted of three floors of performance art, including the above people in caterpillar-like outfits and the message seen from the roof shown above. I like the spontaneity of performance art, but when it’s not happening it leaves an odd silence in empty rooms. I think it’s always best when accompanied by something visual in the space.

Although speaking of performance art, I saw the creepiest thing yet in NYC. I was waiting for the L train in Union Square when I saw a man dressed in a dolphin costume offering “free bouncy rides” next to a girl with a cat head offering air kisses, or something. They were right by the band that’s usually there, offering an unsettling scene very similar to that captured by someone for YouTube. Seriously, just watch that, imagine a cat person added and the beautiful dancing woman subtracted and you’ll pretty much see what I saw last night and feel the chills.

2 thoughts on “Notes from Underground

  1. Ashley says:

    hahaha.
    We are such odd and curious creatures.

    Looks like you’re having a good time.

  2. […] at the Figment Festival on Governor’s Island, and the worm costume people who were a part of Art in Odd Places. I even ran into someone I’d met at the Dumbo Arts Festival. Oh god, have I become part of a […]

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