Monday, September 27, 2010

Brooklyn Bound

"The historical usurpation and theoretical oddity that install the image within the rights of reality are determined as the forgetting of a simple origin." (Derrida, Of Grammatology, pg 37)

The people who lived here owned the property once, maybe twice. The title reads like the Popol Vuh bestowed and taken back leaving traces of past worlds behind. The house stood empty for three or more years before some one tracked down the distant relative who, in his twenties, had no idea he owned a house. The day he saw it, smelled it, he hired a realtor to sell it. She would not go inside during the open house but someone bought it. If it were any place other than Brooklyn I would suggest they salt the earth. Instead, the new owners will remove the asbestos siding and put the clapboard back. The next new owners will know nothing of the five dogs that never got walked, the innumerable visits from police and that their “adopted son” sometimes ate out of the trash cans.

Does Brooklyn derive sustenance from its own history, ingesting and remaking it? The Coney Island of Requiem for a Dream was refashioned in its own image by an Italian designer, its future set to be moderated by Mike Wallace at the Graduate Center this Thursday. As Brooklyn’s history is folded back into itself, the Dodgers become the Cyclones and ticket are $5 for the bleachers.

Requiem for a dream
Save Coney Island



Meg Gorsline said...

What a great question, Jenna. What does it mean for a place to have a history? How is history formed from and told of the innumerable moments that make up the whole (the synchronic in the diachronic)? How is the effect of a place and its things as imbued with history different from the memories that tell of the place and its things? In Europe and the People Without History, Wolf reminds us to examine the macrocosm, yet as archaeologists we frequently focus on the minuscule of the microcosm. Both are important; how do they articulate? And how do we situate our understanding of their articulation within the discourses, such as we read for class, that challenge the foundations of our knowing?

Kasia Hall said...

I agree, funny enough I have always tried to find out the history of places I have lived in or stayed at for long periods of time, but never really given it much thought as to why that would be important to me, my inquiry almost of an automatic nature.