© 2016 Joseph Heathcott

BQ Borderlands

 

Exhibit installed at the Queens Museum,  Nov 2013 - Jan 2014.

 

For the Grand Reopening of the Queens Museum, director of exhibits Hitomi Iwasaki issued a call for proposals for exhibits, installations, and other work. I responded with a proposal for an exhibit that would explore the enigmatic boundary between Queens and Brooklyn. The proposal was accepted, and in 2013 I worked with museum staff to install the materials.

The installation included 12 of my own photographs, panels with interpretive texts, several archival maps, an aerial photograph of the border, and an explanatory brochure. We connected the photographs to their location on the border using red thread.  Finally, we laid out a long pink ribbon on the actual Panorama to mark boundary between the two boroughs (see image above).  This was a rare privilege, as the Panorama, constructed for the 1964 World's Fair, is one of the great historic features of the museum.

As part of the Grand Reopening festivities, I conducted a 40-minute virtual walking tour of the borderlands using the Panorama.  It was a very odd experience, as I was perched on a high platform above the Panorama with a microphone and laser pointer, and the audience gathered around the perimeter of the to follow along.  To extend the life of the project, I published a long essay in Urban Omnibus: The Magazine of the Architectural League of New York titled "Borderlands:  Traveling the Brooklyn-Queens Divide."  The essay goes into detail on the peculiar and contested history of the borough boundary, and the ways in which confusion over its location continues today.