Current Work – John Kilbane GS 17

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I fall asleep to the hum of tires rolling on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. The din ebbs and flows, at once a river and an ocean. The roar somehow vibrates a loose piece of what sounds like metal inside my apartment. I peer outside, toward the bright gleam of oxidized steel, but everything seems to be in place. It yawns, I stretch, and we retreat to our sleepy business, both groaning under the weight of things.

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The spaces, shadows, and sounds conjured by this invasive structure, left-over from the age of autopia, draw me in because of its utter antagonism to pedestrians. The BQE was designed precisely to bypass the local, to get efficiently from A to B. What goes on under the awning beneath the elevated highway, around the canyons carved between neighborhoods, homes, schools and parks?

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The BQE itself is a photograph of sorts, a long exposure created in the postwar boom, carving out a long tail of associations. It’s best experienced in discreet slivers: glimpsed between streets, yawning underfoot at an unexpected overpass. My work under the BQE is an attempt to shore up these discrete elements. If photographs slice off bits of time from the unmediated flow of history, then I offer up my own brief encounters, the detritus of so much detritus: the unmatched glove, the missing tire, the broken chair, the seed that sprouts from steel.

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