Eyes in the Heat: Optics and Violence: A New Museum at Queens West

Project Description: Long Island City, New York CityTwo major initiatives have created significant new pressure on the redevelopment of Long Island City in New York. The planning for NYC 2012 – New York\’s bid for the Olympics – and the recently opened Long Island Railroad Station at Queens West have both contributed to the development of a major new East/West axis of development in New York. Long Island City is already the home of several significant cultural institutions: MoMA Queens, PS-1, The Isamu Naguchi Garden Museum, as well as the Museum of the Moving Image. The waterfront property at Queens West is also currently being developed as housing and new office space by the Rockrose Development Group and the Olympics planning calls for the construction of new housing adjacent to the current Rockrose plans. Long Island City will gain significant new access to the greater NY metropolitan region with the anticipated extension of the Number 7 Subway line: this is planned to connect the West Side of Manhattan beyond Pennsylvania Station with new and refurbished stops in Long Island City. Along with a newly planned Metro North Station on the West Side, major new potentials in infrastructure will make it likely that the most significant growth in the New York region during the next decade will follow an East/West rather than north-south axis. This studio will examine the infrastructural redevelopment and anticipated new regional growth of Queens West prior to designing a new Institutional building for a site in region. Our client will be the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), whose \”Special Projects Unit\” is focusing on Long Island City as well as Lower Manhattan, downtown Brooklyn Governor\’s Island, and the Greenpoint waterfront rezoning.Program: Institutional Buildings: The New Photography Museum at Queens WestA view from somewhere else: a view to distant violenceOn a site at Queens West in Long Island City we will look at the making of the post-war city and the role of institutional building in the redevelopment processes that today are redefining regions such as Long Island City. The program – a Photography Museum at Queens West – will examine the formation of the post war city through a study of two realms of 20th century photography that were decisive at the end of the World War II. The first is the role of photojournalism and the wartime image; the second is the experimental phase of photography lead by Moholy Nagy and Man Ray – works that explored abstraction by way of the technical aspects of the photographic process itself. In the first case we will examine the role of the narrative in photojournalism, the chronicle of human participation, and, in particular, human emotion in conflict and the emergence of industrial war. In the second case we will look specifically at the role of abstraction in optics and lens techniques, and the potential of what Man Ray called \”photography without machines\” – the rayograph, a photograph made by placing objects directly upon photo paper and without a negative. Man Ray considered the rayograph a natural image because it was not produced with a \”machine.\”What are the potentials of Man Ray\’s and Moholy Nagy\’s work in relation to architecture and, in particular, to architectural types reliant on optic techniques and industrialization? The Winter Garden as a utopian environment fabricated in steel, iron and glass – perfected at the dawn of the last century coincident with modern war – will serve as our starting point. The Winter Garden enclosed nature, controlling the flux of seasons within a bounded industrial \”machine.\” The rayograph, inversely, is said to produce a \”natural\” image of the machine: \”instead of mechanically produced images of nature (the photographer\’s traditional subject),\” Man Ray produced a machine age art that often evoked emotion, and sincerity.From this beginning we will examine the d