Hunting a City
New York City Discovery
2015, 9th semester, , Denmark
The focus of this project is the individual survival and adaptability to ones surroundings. The premise is based upon personal hunting experience combined with an incident when I got lost in a snowy blizzard in the wilderness.
I walked into New York as a city hunter. It is my vision that it is the citizens that bring the a city to life, thus I needed to hunt the people of New York in order to understand the city. In order to do so I contacted series of New Yorkers using pen pal sites, to get to know their favourite places within the city. From that I constructed a map only with information given to me from New Yorkers. Using this fragmented map, I got lost in the city! Getting lost is a way to enhance the senses.
The mapping continued on the streets as I hunted the people that I met. All of them were so kind to give me insight to their world so I could continue my mapping and hunting. The world that I discovered was completely different than I had imagine, it was a world of dreams that the people where stuck in.
The site that I choose is at Saint Bartholomew Episcopal Church at the South Eastern corner of E 51st St and Park Avenue. At the church is a homeless shelter and it was where I saw people that were in the same shoes as Korby, thus I saw this to be his next stop. The moment of this next stop would be a critical one for Korby to escape into his dream world or to follow up on his dreams and leave New York.
The dwelling is the reflection of the dream world that I encountered in the city by the people of New York. Korby started on his dream journey 45 years ago and got stuck in New York but in his mind his dreams are even clearer than when he first arrived in the city. The aim of the project is to make a dwelling within New York City. In my case I was creating a dwelling for Korby, even though New York was the last place he wanted to dwell. As he is still stuck in his dream, the creation of his dream space became his nightmare as it reflected his everyday life in New York.
Korby loves to draw portraits even though he has been stuck like this for so long. In New York he has the chance to do what he loves. But the city only feeds him enough new victims each day that he can merely exist, keeping him in the city and away from his dreams. The space that I created reflects his dream as he can constantly draw portraits. At the same time it is his nightmare, as he is stuck in the city. In this loop he is forever addicted to the city. There is a thin line between a dream and a nightmare when the turning point is waking up.
This is Korby, a street artist, sitting behind his drawing board in Central Park. He came to New York City 45 years ago. The city was his first stop on his journey to discover the world as he had a dream to explore the great masterpieces of art that the world has to offer. Unfortunately he got stuck in the city and has been doing portraits in Central Park and Times Square ever since. For that he's quite mad at New York City.
He goes every day to Central Park to do portraits for 10 bucks for which he usually does in 20 to 30 minutes. I wanted to get his perspective on the city for my research and l also felt a bit sorry for him so I asked him to do my portrait. I sat with my bad profile towards Korby for more than two hours. Constantly staring into the trees in front of me, surrounded by skyscrapers, in a cold dark evening. After a while when I was starting to get really cold everything started to change. The skyscrapers that I first felt like they were to carry me to the sky into a dreamworld, suddenly crashed me to the ground. I felt like I was stuck between the teeth of the city as Korby has been for the last 45 years. Even the tree that I had been staring the whole time started to make grumpy faces towards me. I had to step down from my cloud that had been carrying me around the city into another world. Discovering that NYC had a different side to it, a dark side.
Even though Korby has been stuck in this situation for the last 45 years his greatest passion is still to draw portraits and figures. That's probably why he was so long making the drawing in the dark or maybe he just wanted to have some company.
It seemed fair that I paid him double for the portrait, as I did. I was so lucky to find luckypenny out on the street earlier during that day. I gave it to Korby as I thought he was in more need of it than me in order to follow upon his live long dreams. This penny instantly gave him ideas on how he could develop his art. I felt that this little penny meant much more to him than the twenty bucks that I gave him as I believe it gave him hope.
As Korby helt the penny in his hand it seemed as he had the whole world in his hands. Reflecting on this instance afterwards, that he told me that he had a passion to draw organic spaces, he would find a stone or a flower and use the shape to make architecture. Thinking of this at the Chicago public library, with a penny in my own hand, spinning and spinning it, gave me the idea of a spinning world, where the spinning would create and shape the organic world around us.