Study for City: Fire Escapes
Upon arriving in New York City, I became interested in the history and verticality of the city. Using the building’s history –a former firehouse from 1855 to the 1970’s –as a point of departure for the work, I chose to focus on the fire escape as architectural detail and symbol.
The fire escape elicits one’s greatest hope and worst fear. Each life-size fire escape was created with glassine paper, glue, tape and string, and references not only the building’s history, but the history of terrible fires that have taken place in this area of Manhatttan, namely, the famous Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.
In addition, I constructed a cavernous underground space of butcher paper
and aluminum foil I-beams; these materials precariously depict the bracings
that hold this city together. The fragility of the piece’s construction plays
into the anxiety that comes with the overwhelming weight that the many
struts and supports are bearing to keep this city standing.