stillspotting nyc: queens Presents Narratives Recounted by Local Residents


Third Edition in Off-Site Exhibition Series Exploring Stillness and Quiet in the Urban Environment, with Stories Commissioned by Authors, Poets, and Rappers Affiliated with Queens

Exhibition:          stillspotting nyc: queens 
                          Transhistoria by Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO – IL)
Venue:               Several locations in Jackson Heights starting at the
                          Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue Transit Hub, Queens, NY
Dates:                April 14–15, 21–22, and 28–29; May 5–6, 2012

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(NEW YORK, NY – February 21, 2012) -- Stillspotting nyc is a two-year multidisciplinary project that takes the Guggenheim Museum’s programming out into the streets. Site-specific commissions in all five of New York City’s boroughs identify moments of urban quiet and respond to everyday issues of noise, anxiety, and stillness. For stillspotting nyc: queens, the third edition in the series, the architects at New York-based Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO – IL) address the encounters of life in the urban environment with Transhistoria, inviting visitors to neighborhood spaces in Jackson Heights, Queens, to listen to stories of migration, displacement, and finding home away from home. Transhistoria will be held at several sites around Jackson Heights for four weekends: April 14–15, 21–22, 28–29, and May 5–6, 2012. In two-hour self-guided tours, starting from the Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Ave transit hub, visitors will encounter four of these personal transhistories.

Stillspotting nyc is organized by David van der Leer, Assistant Curator, Architecture and Urban Studies, with Sarah Malaika, Stillspotting Project Associate, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Support for stillspotting nyc is provided by the Rockefeller Foundation NYC Opportunities Fund and a MetLife Foundation Museum and Community Connections grant. This project is also supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Leadership Committee for stillspotting nyc, co-chaired by Franklin Campbell and Pamela Samuels, is gratefully acknowledged.

In the northwest section of the New York City borough of Queens, Jackson Heights was founded as a “garden community” in the first half of the 20th century. The neighborhood was a leader in developing utopian ideals of high-density housing in direct contrast with the traditional, over-crowded, and noisy New York apartment buildings common during the time. Over the past decades the neighborhood’s housing stock has risen dramatically, making it one of the more densely populated areas of the city. Jackson Heights counts 138 languages spoken among its many global communities and is also one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in the United States. For Transhistoria, their project for stillspotting nyc, the architects at Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO – IL) investigate how one finds calm and inner peace in a bustling environment such as Jackson Heights. Florian Idenburg of SO – IL explains, “We are exploring the question of how the residents of Jackson Heights, who often have roots elsewhere, achieve a sense of home and localness in a post-national living situation? And what urged them to leave their old households and countries in the first place?”

Rather than reiterate well-documented reports on migration that stress economic or political motives for relocation, Transhistoria explores individual and cultural narratives, such as the flight from problematic family situations or escape from suffocating social structures. These types of everyday stories open up a different enquiry in the search for identity and home away from home. SO – IL offers visitors an opportunity to hear transformative personal histories through a series of accounts commissioned from renowned Queens-affiliated narrators, including poets Roger Sedarat and Maria Terrone, editor and writer Nicole Steinberg, writers Erik Baard, Premilla Nadasen and René Georg Vasicek, chaplain Alan Briceland, and rappers Himanshu Suri and Ashok Kondabolu of Das Racist. Each will create a story about personal transition and finding familiarity and tranquility in Jackson Heights. During these four weekends in April and May, neighborhood residents will recount their stories around several local stillspots as varied as residential living rooms, performance venues, and private courtyards. In two-hour self-guided tours, starting from the Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Ave transit hub, Transhistoria visitors will encounter four of these personal transhistories, selected from a choice of six indoor and outdoor spaces.

Visiting Transhistoria
A ticket to Transhistoria grants access to four of six possible locations for readings in Jackson Heights, Queens, initiating from a stillspotting kiosk near the Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Ave transit hub on 75th Street and Broadway. Hours are Saturdays and Sundays, April 14–15, 21–22, 28–29, and May 5–6, 11a.m.–7p.m. with the last tour starting at 5p.m. Visitors will receive a map, directions for a self-guided tour, and a wristband for access to four sites that they may choose from the six sites open daily. A full visit to four sites takes approximately two hours, and visitors may customize their route or make other stops along the way as there is no suggested itinerary. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for members and will be available later this spring. Discounted rates are available for groups of ten or more. Advanced registration is strongly suggested. A program for families will be offered as part of stillspotting nyc: queens on Saturdays April 21 and May 5 from 12–3p.m. with a story written expressly for families performed in a public space in Jackson Heights. To register and purchase tickets, find directions, or to learn more visit

For this edition and for the two upcoming editions of stillspotting nyc, the Guggenheim Museum is in collaboration with NYC’s Department of Transportation on a city-wide initiative. For this upcoming edition, visitors wishing to travel by bicycle to stillspotting nyc may take advantage of an additional free self-guided cycling program around Jackson Heights that highlights even more experiences of silence and noise in the neighborhood.

About Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO – IL)
Founded in 2008 by Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu, the American architecture firm SO – IL is an ideas-based practice with a global reach. With a strong sense for detail as well as the large scale organization of space, SO – IL combines philosophies and design aesthetics from Asia—especially Japan and China—with those from Europe. In 2010, SO – IL was selected as the winner of MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program for its Pole Dance design, which provides a playful yet pleasing aesthetic experience in MoMA PS1’s courtyard in Queens. SO – IL designs projects of varying scales, including a master plan for Kukje Gallery in Seoul; a wedding chapel in Nanjing, China; student housing in Athens; and a sound pavilion for the Get It Louder festival in Beijing.

Editions of stillspotting nyc
Following Transhistoria for stillspotting nyc: queens, a fourth edition in Staten Island by sound artist Justin Bennett and poet Matthea Harvey will be offered the summer weekends of July 14–15, July 21–22, July 28–29, and August 4–5, 2012. Subsequent editions planned through the end of 2012 will be announced at a later date by the museum. Prior editions featured Sanatorium by visual artist Pedro Reyes in downtown Brooklyn and To a Great City around Lower Manhattan by composer Arvo Pärt and architectural firm Snøhetta.

Improv Everywhere and stillspotting nyc
Over the two-year course of the project, the group Improv Everywhere explores the themes of stillness, silence, and noise in the urban environment through a series of performances in public spaces. Using undercover actors, the group has staged unexpected scenes for people to discover across New York City. These projects are documented online at

Interactive Programs and Studies for stillspotting nyc
In conjunction with the projects organized around the city, visitors may identify and plot out their personal areas of quiet and respite in a customized map as part of the Create Your Own Stillspot program at

For stillspotting nyc, the Spatial Information Design Lab (SIDL) at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University was commissioned to develop a mapping study on silence and noise in New York City. The interactive map developed by SIDL presents actual noise complaints generated by New York residents when calling 311, the city's phone number for government information and non-emergency services. Reading the complaints offers insight into the city’s types of noise, and the contrasts between private and social space and between residential and commercial necessities. A second visual study was developed with students in the MFA program in the Photography, Video, and Related Media Department at the School of Visual Arts who created video studies of the visual, aural, and sociological ecology of the urban landscape. The interactive maps and videos are presented on

About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. Currently the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation owns and operates the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue in New York and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal in Venice, and provides programming and management for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin is the result of a collaboration, begun in 1997, between the Guggenheim Foundation and Deutsche Bank. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a museum of modern and contemporary art designed by Frank Gehry on Saadiyat Island, adjacent to the main island of Abu Dhabi city, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is currently in progress. More information about the foundation can be found at

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February 21, 2012

Lauren Van Natten, Associate Director, Media and Public Relations
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
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Marxz Rosado, The Process for Attaining the Signature of Pedro Albizu Campos in Neon Lights (Proceso para conseguir la firma de Pedro Albizu Campos en luces de neón), 1977–2002

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