Edgemere Twenty-Twelve is a continuation of our project The Edgemere Letters, a visual and textual exploration inspired by a beachfront sector of Edgemere, a neighborhood in Far Rockaway, Queens. The two of us (an artist and a poet) had long been thinking about collaborating, and Edgemere, with its haunts and hauntings, allowed us to work through a variety of issues we had both been addressing in our solo work, from questions of displacement and community (we are from Georgia and Puerto Rico respectively) to our interest in process-based approaches where form and play meet. We first went there in the fall of 2009 and took some pictures, which we later supplemented with archival and web research; these images became the basis for the limited-edition accordion foldout book The Edgemere Letters, which we published in 2011. The text for The Edgemere Letters, most of it written over a few days at the Millay Colony for the Arts, contains no vowels other than “e” (the Edgemere vowel) and the occasional stray “y.” The book also contains e-constrained captions and erasure text from a 1992 study of Edgemere published by the New York Department of City Planning. This type of constrained approach, influenced by the writer Georges Perec, allowed us to tell a story about our relationship to Edgemere while foregrounding the difficulty of such a task and the complexity of the place itself: once a thriving beach neighborhood, Edgemere was largely written off in the Robert Moses era, but now appears to be a target for major redevelopment. In September 2011 we held the “Edgemere Peek-neek,” a performance, guided tour, and beachfront picnic that also served as a launch party for the book and website. (See the website for text, photo, and video samples, and for general information about the book and project.)
Edgemere Twenty-Twelve, a series of twelve images with e-constrained captions, reflects our continued fascination with this place and its sediments (in Smithson’s sense), but it also documents the rapid and ongoing changes to the area since our first visit in 2009, from advertisement for real estate development to the sight of a gleaming new football field. Ultimately, collaboration for us is an “edge” practice, not so much in the sense of a practiced “edginess” but rather of a sharp corner where divergent thoughts and forms unexpectedly converge.
Martha Clippinger creates colorful abstractions that reside somewhere between painting and sculpture. She received a studio space though the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation in 2010, and in 2012 she participated as an Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Clippinger is the creator and director of The Dirty Dirty, an alternative art space at her home in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, and she is represented by Elizabeth Harris Gallery in New York.
Urayoán Noel is a poet, performer, critic, and translator. His books of poetry include, most recently, Hi-Density Politics (2010) and Los días porosos/the porous days (2012). Other works include a performance CD and DVD (both in collaboration with composer Monxo López) and, as translator, Edwin Torres’s ILUSOS (2010). A contributing editor of Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas, he recently received fellowships from the Bronx Council on the Arts and the Ford Foundation. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Noel is based in the Bronx and teaches at SUNY Albany.
THE NEXT EDGEMERE
CEMENTED REP (WHERE EDGEMERES MEET)
SELL THE EDGE
THE EVER-PRESENT LEVELED STEEL
THE DEN (EMERGENCE, SEE)
DESSERT (THE SERVERS DESERTED)