1. Can you tell us about your QAF funded project?
Created specifically for the Queens Museum’s Panorama of the City of New York, New York: City of tomorrow is a large-scale photographic installation that addresses the rising skyline of the urban landscape from a pedestrian viewpoint. While entire neighborhoods have been reinvented due to ambitious renewal and development projects, the Panorama offers a miniature, three dimensional opportunity to travel back in time to an earlier version of the five boroughs. Originally constructed as a descriptive tool for the 1964 World’s fair, new construction has been added sparsely since its last restoration in 1992. Juxtaposing photographs of the miniature architectural models with street views of newly constructed buildings occupying the same locations today— including Long Island City, Downtown Brooklyn, and Manhattan’s “Billionaire's Row” -Williams’ dynamic collage exposes the monumental scale of rising capitalist interests and the shrinking perspective of the individual citizen. Three site responsive collages are up right now at the Queens Museum as part of the 2016 Queens International, which runs from April 10th - July 31st.
2. How do you think this project will impact the community?
Hundreds of museum visitors and NYC school children visit the Panorama every week. My hope is their experience of the work, in tandem with the Panorama itself, will spark thoughts concerning the forces behind such radical change, enriching their day to day experience of the city by activating their understanding of change in each neighborhood depicted.
3. How has QCA been helpful in the grant process?
The QCA grant has given me the freedom to think big and the funds to fulfill the creation of those grand thoughts in a short period of time. The Panorama is a dream space for me to work with, and being able to brainstorm ideas while knowing the funds were there to make them possible was a huge help.
4. Here is your chance, what do you want everyone to know about you as an artist and your process?
I studied both film and sculpture along with photography years ago as an undergraduate, and I believe the work I make now reflects the values and sensitivities of these disciplines in regards to time and space. In a general sense, I like using spaces that are not functional in the same way the middle of a wall is in a gallery setting. Installing work that engages ceilings and floors transports the viewer, challenging them to notice odd corners or architectural oddities, turning the exhibition space itself into a kind of spectacle and subverting the usual anonymous behavior gallery walls are meant to project. Additionally, my architecturally-related works are project specific. Someone will approach me about doing a piece for their space, and I’ll do research into the surrounding neighborhood's history, then walk its streets while shooting. The size and shape of the exhibition space influence the composition, so getting a feel for it first is ideal.
For more information visit: http://jennifer-williams.com/home.html