Background Recently, while knitting, I was thinking about why so many people who work in office jobs are interested in crafting, making things and learning processes like pickling and making jam. As manufacturing and fabrication have moved farther and farther from most people’s daily lives in America, we get more and more alienated from the stuff around us. Where did it come from? Who made it? How?
In response, I created videos of manufacturers in my neighborhood, with the intent to provide a window into the hidden world of urban manufacturing in Brooklyn today. My project BROOKLYN MAKES aims to use these videos to bring what happens inside industrial buildings out into the public view.
Project During BROOKLYN MAKES on October 9th and 10th, 2009, participants will walk off the main thoroughfares of Bedford and Manhattan Avenues, commercial streets that bisect Williamsburg and Greenpoint, towards an area of the waterfront they may not often visit. Buildings that normally seem dark and deserted at night will be lit up with large, colorful video projections showing the vibrant and creative labor that takes place inside during the day.
Following a map, visitors will navigate to three businesses. Each industrial facade will show a video projection depicting the labor that happens inside during the day, enhanced with sounds captured on site.
Visitors will see a range of activities that comprise Brooklyn manufacturing today:
* printers at Royal Engraving use 250 year old machines to make engraved business cards
* 150 workers at Acme Smoked Fish process kosher lox
* a woman makes artisanal paper at Dobbin Mill, one of three paper mills left in NYC
While watching the projections, viewers will see that well run local manufacturing still exists in urban neighborhoods. The Greenpoint Williamsburg Industrial Business Zone, which may seem deserted to the untrained eye, will be revealed as a dynamic and creative place that fabricates pieces of the world around us and provides employment to local workers, including many new immigrants. Where they might have previously seen a brick wall, viewers will now see an innovative business that adds value to their neighborhood.
Ongoing In the spring, I will release the videos as a mobile tour, with an additional fourth location. People will be able to take a self-guided tour of the area, watching the videos on smart mobile devices.
Purpose The local industry that remains in New York City needs public support to resist displacement. The project will raise awareness of local manufacturers and show manufacturing that can coexist and support sustainable city living, as well as showcase the creative and skilled aspects of manual labor.
Funding Funding will cover video production costs, renting sound and projection equipment, and printing a publicity postcards with a map.
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- (26 days)