Quercus/Homo 1, Phase 1

 

Governors Island has a rich history involving radical, physical changes to the island. In 500 years the island transformation has included Lenape Indian’s Paggank island, Dutch settlers’ Noten Eyladnt, a military base, the British colonization/renaming to Governors Island, a 102-acre expansion made from IRT subway tunnel excavation material, and a US Coast Guard station. There are various future expansion proposals, one includes the formation of a land bridge that connects the island with Manhattan, titled LoLo.

 

Quercus/Homo 1, Phase 1 is a two-part, interactive work that invites conversations about the history of Governors Island and how humans and nonhumans co-exist and co-shape our world.

 

The exchange table encourages humans to actively participate in shaping the landscape of a small space (the table surface). Initially the table holds various items sourced from the island: oak saplings, acorns, moss, etc. Humans may take something from the table in exchange for anything they have on their person. They are asked to outline the new addition in orange to record the exchange.

 

As humans approach the exchange table, they step on a rug that is covering a set of switches that lead to an EL wire “neon” sign. The more humans on the rug, the more switches are activated.

 

The neon sign is comprised of three sections that together form a map of Governors Island. The section that lights up with the least amount of pressure (~1 human) forms the shape of the preexisting, 69-acre island. The second section (~2-3 humans) makes the shape of the current, 172-acre island. The third section, requiring the most pressure to illuminate (~3+ humans), activates the shape of the future land bridge proposal, LoLo.  

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