Since the beginning of this project my relationship to fences has changed. I started to look at fences the way skaters look at a ledge or a system of roots that is upending a sidewalk. I know about how skaters look at things. I used to skate; Mario still does. I’m sure people say this all the time, but maybe skaters often end up involved in art because their brains are already wired to see clever uses for things. I want to be clear: despite my thinking this, I still proudly enjoy my toxic practice of looking smugly at a group of men skateboarding and thinking to myself “These people need to get jobs and start a family”.
Mario’s now deceased grandfather had a job and family. He walked to that job from Brooklyn to Manhattan across the Williamsburg bridge every day. He likely never thought to himself, “maybe I should hang some art on the fence on this bridge.” This was a thought that Mario had and proposed to me as a sinkhole exhibit. I said yes because I love Mario and he’s very hard working (absurdly so). I also liked the idea of the show connecting distant people, Bora and the grandfather.
I’m not much of a reader so I’m unsure if this is a hack notion, but i thought about how bridges are the opposite of fences in way. Bridges allow one to travel to places that they couldn’t otherwise. Fences inhibit travel, usually in the interest of protecting property. Fence-like structures also line the edges of a bridge, but these fences protect your life.
I always privately thought of the project as a subtle protest gesture that attempts to create connection through art via an architecture that’s designed to inhibit it. But here, on a bridge, the fence stands as a barrier between us, our death, and our dead relatives. There is certainly something poetic happening there, but maybe Bora and Mario will address that with the art they hang.
— Joe Speier