This research and photography project is an attempt to develop a typology of dwindling “vacant” spaces of Bushwick, Brooklyn. Of course so-called “vacant” land isn’t really vacant. It lacks the all-encompassing artifice associated with consistently maintained, human-centered habitats. It’s also void of certain culturally recognized markers of progress, from cement and steel foundations masking and stabilizing the earth below, to the promise of rising property values for contiguous real estate. But it’s full of many other things. Looking beyond plastic bags, candy wrappers and the occasional abandoned mattress, the companion species that flourish in humanity’s shadow come into focus, filling these “empty” spaces to the brim.
This project was on view at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History from 2021–2022 as part of the exhibition “Unsettled Nature“. I participated in the panel “Feral Landscapes: Ecosystems in a Concrete Jungle” as part of the exhibition programming. Read a review of the show: A Smithsonian museum turns to art, not science, to hammer home a warning about Mother Nature
Some sites regenerate across the seasons and in pauses between maintenance or construction, while others disappear beneath concrete.