KIMAYA MALWADE: "I look at this project as an amazing journey through which have understood and learnt that experience is everything. Me and Nhumi were partnered for this final studio project and I’m so glad that we were. As her dad is a jazz musician who has lived in new york since the late sixties; we needed resources to begin with as this was a research project. He was the perfect resource, hence we didn’t have to struggle researching for people. But then again, Since we had this jewel of a resource we decided to take a leap further and really find some marvelous people and interview them.
We spoke to her father, who gave us insights on what new york was through the eyes of an artist. Then we spoke to a ninety one year old man who spoke about how over time the east village has lost the sense of a community due to commercialism and the last woman that we interviewed was a 60 year old and an community activist and got her perspective on how this area “was and now is”.
Her father described it almost through the eyes of a flaneur. He is originally from Chicago and and came her as an young man, hence he was very excited to grasp all the opportunities and understand the inner workings of the city. He told us stories(his experiences) that sounded like movie scripts! He mentioned that the east village was a cultural hub back in the day, and here I mean way back in the day when Edgar allen poe, Gilliman, Picasso and jimmy Hendricks lived here. He told us that there were the cafes that used to be open all night and here in the late hours of the night every one would come out of their cocoons and merge into a spectrum of colorful butterflies; creating work together. There always was a theater production occurring and side by side musicians were playing and writers were writing/improving scripts. It was a strong community. He told us that artist usually resided her as the rent was low on this side of town and struggle artist could afford it. We spoke to him for a good hour, and found that the most interesting story of all was when he meet the head of the Italian mafia.Yes I felt surreal! It was at Lanzan’s restaurant in the village near 10th street that this incident occurred. He was looking for a good place eat, when he stumbled onto this place. He described the waiters carrying white napkins and wearing a black suit and the tables had been laid with freshly starched white table clothes. Upon his entry, two large men stopped him and asked him what his business was here, he said that he wants to eat. they were surprised and then went to the back and whispered to Mr Lanza about how he wants to eat here, and then Mr Lanza offered her father a seat right in front of the window. Mr lanza would always say “things don’t need to be so hard you know i can take of things for you” to her father, but he always refused( he did not want to get into it all).
This is the story that we picked for the final studio piece. We decided to take a picture of the place in the state it is today and then place tracing paper over it and draw on top of it the things that her father talked about.
The ninety one year old , we meet in a coffee shop near to his apartment, he told us that he had been living there since the early 70s, and spoke a great deal about his wife Sheryl, who is an artist. He is a documentary film maker and was excited to be asked questions as this is the first time he experienced playing for the other side of the team. Looking at his energy, still in this old age made me admire his courage and enthusiasm. He mentioned that he had been to around 60 countries around the world and survived 2 wars – the second world war and the Vietnam war. As he spoke I respected him more and more. He had also been on Humans of New york. The most comments he received were on the fact that he and his wife choose not to have children. As they wanted to travel the world, and it wasn’t the same if one of them stayed back and looked after the child. It was a matter of having a shared experience.
He talked about the way things have changed the personal relationship that he once had with shop owners has changed, the sense of knowing the shop keepers and restaurant owners doesn’t excisit any more. Everyone is on the run now a days, restaurants always want to kick you out as soon as one finishes their meal, they simply hand you the check and say “ whenever you are ready”. He said this is not a complaint but its an observation by a 91 year old man.
the place we choose for him is the the spot at which his Italian shoe maker’s shop was situated, as he mentioned that when the people in the neighborhood used to travel they used to leave their keys to the apartment at the shoe maker. His Italian shoe maker shop has now changed as at that spot now is the case bank. we decided to print vintage photo’s of how then neighborhood shops looked like on tracing paper and overlapped it with the above photo.
And lastly we interviewed the activist that lived just a block away from Nhumi’s place. Her house had warm burgundy walls and everything that you can find in a vintage store, it was lovely! I felt as though I had been taken back into time, the antique lamps and velvet sofas, I was in love with the place. She is writer and told us that she cant set out to change the world and stop global warming, but she can work with what she had which was this neighborhood. And so she did. She, as well, had moved here in the late sixties. She told us she being a Jew had to get married and settle down into a family at an early age of 25, but she set out of the house at this age and has never looked back since. She has lived in that apartment for nearly forty years today and still loves it as much as she loved it the first time she moved in. She said it gave her a certain sense of liberation and freedom. She has done tremendous amour of social work. We choose to use the area or rather a triangular shaped park that she brought back to life as the place tot be photographed. It was in this portion of the neighborhood that all the drunks and homeless used to hang out, she started organizing concerts and events for little children, so as to attract the people in the neighborhood to make this area safe and sound. At first it was hard, as after the concert none wood “hang around “ that area and once a homeless man dropped down his pants in front of the children. But as time passed it acme a more social place and then she planted flowers(roses) and transformed it into the garden it was supposed to be. For this photograph we drew what she had describe to us the drunks and the barren plot of land on tracing paper and overlapped the image with it.
Along with the pictures and the trancing paper overlapping it we also submitted edited versions of their recordings. Editing the recordings was very tedious and time consuming as we had individually interviewed for almost an hour each. Hence cutting down on all the extra information and choosing the appropriate segments was hard.
Over all the project was a success and I think we achieved the criteria.
To read more: portfolio.newschool.edu/kimaya28/2014…arch-project/
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